Lawmakers Response to the Economy – Form a Committee

Mar 3, 2009 4:26pm

ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf reports: In the past nine months, members of Congress have passed a $787 billion stimulus bill to kick start the economy this year and written a $700 billion check to keep Wall Street afloat. And as the economy seems to remain on the precipice — with the once-unthinkable idea of nationalizing banks being seriously debated — today came a call from both sides of the aisle to respond with everything Congress has got — form a committee. There are 20 Senate committees and more than half of those would have some claim to overseeing the financial crisis or the government response to it, but in the minds of Senators John McCain, R-Ariz., and Byron Dorgan, D-ND, there should be a blue ribbon panel of lawmakers specially tasked with instigating the economic crisis and recommend how to fix it. "Everyplace I go in my home state of Arizona , people are confused upset and angry. They want to know what happened. They want to know how we got into this ditch — the worst economic crisis since the great depression — and answers haven’t been forthcoming," said McCain at a press conference on Capitol Hill. McCain said the committee would cross jurisdictions of current committees, determine what exactly caused the crisis, and recommend a blueprint so that it doesn’t happen in the future. "We talk about $9 trillion that has been doled out or guaranteed by the federal reserve board. … Who got it? How much? What is the risk? Nobody knows. There is no transparency," said Dorgan. The two, who have both served on special task committees before, envision this new economic crisis committee having full subpoena power, something like the Church Committee (which ultimately became the permanent Intelligence Committee) or the Truman Committee, which investigated defense contractor abuses and catapulted Truman to the vice presidency.

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