John McCain photo

Remarks in West Des Moines, Iowa

September 29, 2008

I speak to you at an hour of crisis for our nation's economy.

I believe the crisis facing our economy could have a grave impact on every American worker, small business owner, and family if our leaders fail to act.

I share the anger and frustration that many Americans feel toward reckless and corrupt mismanagement on Wall Street and in Washington.

I returned to Washington last week to work on a bipartisan rescue plan. It was the only plan at that time on the table but lacked enough support to pass. It also lacked sufficient accountability and transparency to justify expenditure of the taxpayers' money.

At the time, the concerns of all members were not being heard. My colleagues were worried about the size of the plan and the risk it posed to taxpayers. I shared those concerns and I laid out principles that I thought must be adhered to. Those principles included responsible oversight, effective transparency, added protections for the taxpayers, and a cap on excessive salaries for executives.

I also believe that the legislation should have no earmarks. I worked hard to play a constructive role in bringing everyone to the table. The plan is now significantly improved. We strengthened taxpayers' protections and oversight, and the taxpayers were on the hook for less money up front. Don't get me wrong - it isn't perfect. And the fact that taxpayers could have to spend a single dollar to create stability in our economy is a decision that I do not take lightly.

I was hopeful that the improved rescue plan would have had the votes needed to pass because addressing a credit crisis is of vital importance to families, small businesses, and every working American who must be assured that their assets are safe and protected and that our economy will continue to function.

Today, I've spoken to the Federal Chairman Bernanke, Secretary Paulson, Congressional leaders and now it's time for all members of Congress to go back to the drawing board.

I call on Congress to get back obviously immediately to address this crisis. Our leaders are expected to leave partisanship at the door and come to the table to solve our problems. Senator Obama and his allies in Congress infused unnecessary partisanship into the process. Now is not the time to fix the blame. It's time to fix the problem.

I would hope that all our leaders, all of them, can put aside short-term political goals and do what's in the best interest of the American people. Thank you.

John McCain, Remarks in West Des Moines, Iowa Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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