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What Now?

Only one thing is clear after yesterday's implosion of the bail out bill in the House:  nothing will happen at least until Thursday.  Other than that, all bets are off at the moment.  That's the bad news.  The good news is that the delay gives us and Congress a little bit of breathing room and the chance to push for a stronger bill that puts hard-working people first.  How do you think Congress should respond to the financial meltdown?  Click here and leave your ideas in the comments section of ADA's new website. 

The Liberal Alternative

What is abundantly clear is that a bi-partisan strategy - despite John McCain's "best" efforts - is not working.  Therefore, we believe we should focus our attention on developing a proposal which will meet the needs stated by many Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and meet the basic principles we set forth at the beginning of this debate.  If we achieve that goal, we will be able to pass a responsible package without the likes of John Boehner and Roy Blunt dictating the terms.

Please, therefore, reach out to your Senators and Representative immediately.  Tell them you are watching Congressional action closely and demand that they seize the leadership back from President Bush, Treasury Secretary Paulson and the rest of their financial cronies who got us in this mess in the first place.  Tell them you understand full well that we have a very serious problem on our hands but that you do not want to support any bill which does not include these basic provisions:

Bankruptcy Protection

Legislation must provide help for the millions of homeowners struggling to stay in their homes. Many homeowners were misled by predatory lenders into taking mortgages that they didn't understand and couldn't afford.  This bill must grant authority for bankruptcy judges to restructure mortgages and allow government to work with loan servicers on new mortgage terms, therefore providing stability and security for local neighborhoods and the real estate market as a whole. 

A Strong Economic Recovery Package

Congress must pass an economic recovery package that will provide jobs for thousands, relief for millions and a crucial shot in the arm for the American economy. The legislation must include an extension of unemployment insurance, investments to rebuild and strengthen public infrastructure, assistance to states to avoid deep cuts in education and health care and temporary food stamp increases to aid those who are hardest hit by the economic downturn. We believe a strong economic recovery package is vital to get the real economy moving and put people back to work.

Taxpayer Protection

The public's massive amount of investment in our financial institutions must be vigorously protected. Tough, independent oversight, transparency and an assurance of repayment from the financial service companies must be mandatory. Taxpayers must receive equity in exchange for their investments and future profits of participating companies must first be returned to the public.

Limitations on Executive Compensation

Tax dollars should be restricted from funding excessive executive compensation and platinum parachutes (gold really doesn't cover what these guys take home). Strict limits on compensation and severance packages for senior executives must be enacted on any institution receiving taxpayer-funded assistance.

And, tell them to remember that the last 401k statements which are likely to be received before the election are being mailed out tonight.  People will be angry and they will be demanding action which keeps their interests ahead of those who have threatened the future they had fought so very hard to guarantee.

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