U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, who voted against the $700 billion rescue bill Monday, is now on the fence about the revised Senate legislation that overwhelming passed in the upper chamber Wednesday, no thanks to U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter. Both of Louisiana's senators voted down the legislation, a perplexing decision in light of its tax breaks for hurricane victims and the extension of tax incentives for businesses opening or relocating in Go Zone areas.
In explaining his opposition on KPEL Tuesday morning, Boustany noted that the House version did not have enough oversight for how the money would be spent. He told The Advocate yesterday that he has now moved from the “no” column to being undecided, in large part due to the oversight the Senate wrote into the legislation.
The Senate bill creates an oversight board made up of federal banking regulators and a special inspector general who will watch over the program with a budget of $50 million. If after five years the government has lost money on the program, the president would be required to submit a proposal for recouping the shortfall from firms that benefited from the legislation.
Boustany told The Advocate he is carefully reading through the bill, which also raises the cap on FDIC insured accounts from $100,000 to $250,000 and has more than $100 billion in tax breaks for businesses and individuals.
Though unpopular among many Americans, the measure has been widely embraced by financial experts. They say while the legislation is far from perfect, it is the best way to clear troubled assets from the books of financial institutions reeling from home foreclosures. It would begin the process of busting up our nation's huge frozen credit markets to stem the tidal wave of a deepening recession.
Here's your chance, Chuck. Do the right thing.
(Update: Congressman Boustany today voted for the legislation, known as the Emergency Economic Stabilization package, which passed the House 263-171. "The economic downturn America is beginning to realize is a result of greed and irresponsibility, and now, small businesses, responsible homeowners and Southwest Louisiana families suffer because of reckless decisions by Wall Street," Boustany said in a statement explaining his position.
"After reading this legislation and talking with experts and people across my district, I am convinced inaction at this time would hurt middle-class families. An increase in guaranteed limits for the [FDIC] will help restore public confidence in the safety of their bank deposits, and it is one important change from previous versions of this bill," he continued. "People are anxious about banks being able to honor their commitments, and I acted to provide confidence. Strong oversight of Treasury and sound safeguards will help taxpayers recoup this loan over time; this is a necessary start. While not perfect, this is a better bill that will help Southwest Louisiana keep jobs."
Boustany joined Louisiana Reps. Rodney Alexander, Jim McCrery and Charlie Melancon in supporting the rescue plan; Reps. Don Cazayoux, William Jefferson and Steve Scalise voted against it. Alexander also switched his position.)
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
See which events are taking place during INNOV8 Lafayette this Thursday.
It’s on, y’all. Fest fIND, our annual Festival International de Louisiana reader contest, is now accepting photo submissions.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
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Producers, manufacturers, restaurants and chefs host roundtable and tasting
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
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Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, April 23, 2014:
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Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Don't forget: our annual Festival International contest begins Thursday! Win. Cool. Stuff.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
State bar foundation bestows honor on founder and managing partner of NeunerPate
This Wednesday, April 23, marks the first full day of INNOV8 Lafayette.
National awards recognize outstanding achievement in leadership development and leadership programs
A federal court magistrate has issued a seven-page schedule of hearings, conferences and deadlines leading up to January’s trial aimed at determining how much money BP will owe in Clean Water Act fines as a result of its 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The state’s “greedy trial lawyers” haven’t scared this oil giant away.
Local boutique celebrates all things green
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.