Letter from Emanuel Cleaver, II; Member of Congress
As I have done with the letters from Kit Bond, and Claire McCaskill I’m going to post the response from Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II regarding the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. The first part of this BLOG will be the issues I have with the letter. Yet I must add that of the three letters I received Congressman Cleaver’s was the most personalized.
First Issue: “…For example, Kansas City was trying to fund a sewer and water project to the tune of $200 million but could not get the financing …”
I have to ask clearly if I am expected to believe that financing for a sewer and water project in Kansas City was stopped dead on its tracks. I find it very difficult to believe that the sole reason was the financial crisis at the end of September and early October. Why was financing not secured 3 weeks earlier? Please Congressman, if you’re going to add something like this please provide some back up to such a panic inducing statement.
Second Issue: “…The Ford plant at Claycomo recently scaled back to one shift on the assembly line because customers can get financing to buy a new car or truck…”
Congressman, I have to point out that the trucks being assembled at Claycomo are far more affected by the rise of gasoline prices to over four dollars a gallon, than it has to do with financing. People are voting in Detroit with their wallets and rethinking what type of a vehicle they need. Toyota has finally accomplished their 1960’s dream and they have surpassed GM and all other vehicle manufacturers in the world. They did not have a problem at GM, Ford and Chrysler with financing from the beginning of the year, their problem is design and vehicle target markets.
The key point again, Congressman, is that the Ford Plant comment is more to induce panic and support for an action, that even in the short term hindsight, was still the wrong vote to make. Too many questions are still open of the banking system, and more importantly we should be worried more about igniting the economy by lowering taxes, lowering entry barriers and encouraging entrepreneurs to create jobs throughout the economy, not thinking of driving our debt deeper by doing some infrastructure projects.
Insist on a clear freeze on government spending (that frees up capital for lending if the Government is not using it up to cover the National debt). Then Congressman Cleaver, government should focus on energy by drilling and ensuring we don’t have petroleum used as a tool to hurt our economy again.
Third Issue: “…On October 3, 2008 the House of Representatives re-convened to vote on the amended Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. The bill was passed the second time with a vote of 263 to 171. This time I voted in support of it, realizing that this issue was time-sensitive and not passing a bill would only continue to adversely affect Kansas City and its citizens…”
I have to say, you had it right the first time, but you really ignored the calls for a No vote Congressman. The key point is that the people of the State of Missouri contacted all three of our Government Representatives, and we have all been ignored. We now have an $850,000,000,000 debt that is now only a part of a two part bailout. You, by your vote, have saddled all of us with increased taxes and with a national debt that is just outrageous. Congressman the disappointment felt by those of us who took the time to let you and Senators McCaskill and Bond how against the bailout we were, will have to pay the check you three helped sign. You wrote it, and we will pay.
Letter from: Emanuel Cleaver, II, Member of Congress
Dated: October 9, 2008
Thank you for contacting me regarding the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter.
As you may know, Congress passed a bill the first of October to stabilize the credit/liquidity problems experienced as a result of the housing crisis. This problem affects us all, from Main Street to Wall Street. For example, Kansas City was trying to fund a sewer and water project to the tune of $200 million but could not get the financing. There just isn’t enough money out there to secure a loan. The Ford plant at Claycomo recently scaled back to one shift on the assembly line because customers can get financing to buy a new car or truck. We have businesses that had trouble making payroll on Tuesday and the recent jobs report says we lost more jobs in September than in any month in the last five years. You, I and everyone with a pension or a 401K lost over one trillion dollars in worth the first week of October.
On Monday, September 29th after receiving a bill to authorize $700 billion of taxpayer funds, I voted “no” on the economic rescue package. Congress had only a few hours to digest, discuss and decide on the largest vote we would take this session, if not in our careers. Ninety-nine percent of my constituent calls were urging me to vote “no”. In fact, I would say there is still an overwhelming majority of constituents that were opposed to a ‘yes’ vote.
In that context, for a bill that was intended to inspire confidence in our economy by the American public, the chances of success on Monday were slim and not worth rushing. Friday afternoon I entered the House chamber knowing full well that either way I voted would be hard. In fact, if Monday was difficult, Friday was even harder.
The truth is, the system worked on Monday. America was uncertain about the need for this giant step, and the House of Representatives reflected that caution. I think my vote Monday reflected that caution as well.
The House is a deliberative body intended to reflect the will of those we serve. In the 14 days prior to the original three-page bill Treasury Secretary Paulson submitted to Congress, the assessment of the economy had gone from fundamentally sound to catastrophically flawed. A $700 billion rescue is not something that should be hurried, decisions made in haste are often bemoaned in greater haste.
In several meetings back home, the week after the House voted the first bill down, people started giving me high-fives and “atta-boys” like the crowd would expect me to cheer my own vote. Instead, I would lay out the dire consequences, the heavy burden and the lose-lose situation we find ourselves in. Each of those meetings would end with people wishing me a somber “good luck” and “glad I’m not in your shoes.” In the meantime, the Senate took action, modifying the bill to include raising the FDIC insurance limits from $100,000 to $250,000; limiting the excessive compensation for Wall Street CEOs and Executives; and requiring a plan for the tax-payers to be paid-back in full.
On October 3, 2008 the House of Representatives re-convened to vote on the amended Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. The bill was passed the second time with a vote of 263 to 171. This time I voted in support of it, realizing that this issue was time-sensitive and not passing a bill would only continue to adversely affect Kansas City and its citizens.
Again, thank you for sharing your views with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I may be of further assistance. Also, I encourage you to visit my website at http://www.house.gov/cleaver, where you can sign up for my electronic newsletter and receive updates on my latest activities as your Representative.
Emanuel Cleaver, II
Member of Congress