TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Renita Jablonski: It looks like U.S. stocks are heading for a slight rebound after some of the steepest losses in years yesterday. The Dow lost nearly 780 points after the House said no to a proposed $700 billion rescue plan for the financial industry. Carnage on Wall Street usually attracts bargain hunters. Futures may also be higher on hope Congress finally gets together on this issue.
Texas Congressman Kevin Brady is holding out hope. He’s a member of the Joint Economic Committee. He’s a Republican, and he voted yes for the so-called bailout. Congressman, welcome.
Congressman Kevin Brady: Well, thank you for having me.
Jablonski: Why did you vote yes for the bailout?
Brady: Well, because I think the alternative of not doing anything, of not acting, was much worse. I don’t like this bill at all — it goes against much of everything I believe in. But, you know, we’ve got, we do have a severe financial crisis. And right now it is limited to New York and the global markets, but it is going to spread down to our local communities. So I thought it was important and responsible to try and stop this right now, or at least try to calm it as much as we can, so we can get the market back on its feet.
Jablonski: You mention that spread eventually to other communities outside of Wall Street. How do you make that real for your constituents?
Brady: You know it’s difficult right now because it doesn’t feel like it’s reaching down, but we’re starting to get reports from loggers who are losing their line of credit so that they can’t take timber to the local paper mill. We’re starting to see small businesses that are seeing their, again, their credit line squeezed, which is their operating costs. I don’t think it’s reached most people at this point, that’s the good news. The bad news is that credit market is in serious trouble, and it’s going to affect almost everyone if we don’t nip it in the bud.
Jablonski: So here we are, day after a bailout bust. What’s next?
Brady: Well, both parties have got to knock off the foolishness at this point and sit down and work it out. I just thought, you know, there’s been a whole lot of demagoguery and not enough serious solutions. And I think there is common ground. I think the Speaker has two choices — she can say, she can ask where can I get the votes, and she can probably strong arm — she should be able to strong arm some of her members enough, 10 of them, into voting the existing bill. Or she can ask where is this more common ground, and pull more Republicans and moderates over to support, you know, an altered solution.
Jablonski: So you’re sitting with a Republican colleague drinking coffee. What are you saying to them right now?
Brady: We’ve got to solve this problem. Like it or not, Congress needs to act, and do it responsibly and do it now, because this lack of leadership is costing average people a lot of money. And then the economy, it’s going to make a recession that’s sure to come much deeper and much longer, so let’s act.
Jablonski: Republican Congressman Kevin Brady is a member of the Joint Economic Committee. He did vote yes for the bailout yesterday. Congressman, so good to have you with us, thanks.
Brady: Thank you for having me, I appreciate it.
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