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Letter to Congressional Leaders on Savings and Loan Financing Legislation

August 03, 1989


I have repeatedly urged the Congress to act on legislation to resolve the crisis in the savings and loan industry. Indeed, the insolvent thrift institutions have had estimated losses of more than $6 billion since I proposed legislation on February 22 and asked Congress to take action within 45 days.

The conference report currently before the Congress incorporates key reforms that I requested. It also adds other important provisions developed by Congress through long and serious effort. Unfortunately, the conference agreement includes a financing plan that amends the requirements of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings budget process, as well as other provisions that will reduce asset recoveries for the taxpayers and add inappropriate subsidies. If the conference report is presented to me in its current form, I will veto the bill.

While Gramm-Rudman-Hollings is not perfect, it represents the only available institutional requirement for fiscal discipline by the Congress and the executive branch. Exempting $44 billion in spending from this budget process, as would occur under the conference provisions, would be unprecedented. It would also seriously undermine the future value of Gramm-Rudman-Hollings as a source of budgetary restraint -- risking adverse effects on both markets and the economy.

I am prepared to work with Congress to bridge the divergent positions on the financing issue in a manner that preserves the budgetary discipline of Gramm-Rudman-Hollings. It is essential to resolve this dispute this week before Congress adjourns for the August recess. Working together in a bipartisan spirit, we can achieve a fully responsible result for the American public.


George Bush

Note: Identical letters were sent to Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives; George J. Mitchell and Robert Dole, majority and minority leaders of the Senate, respectively; and Robert H. Michel, minority leader of the House of Representatives.

George Bush, Letter to Congressional Leaders on Savings and Loan Financing Legislation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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