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Bunning, DeMint to Force Senate Vote to Investigate Countrywide Taxpayer Bailout in Housing Bill

June 20, 2008

Bunning, DeMint to Force Senate Vote to Investigate Countrywide Taxpayer Bailout in Housing Bill

Washington, D.C.Today, U.S. Senators Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) and Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky) announced that they will force a vote on a motion to recommit the housing bill back to the Senate Banking Committee to determine the amount that Countrywide Financial and other lenders stand to benefit from the taxpayer bailout for bad loans.

Estimates of the taxpayer benefit that Countrywide Financial will receive in the housing bill have varied. The Wall Street Journal published this morning that Countrywide could receive a “potential taxpayer bailout of more than $25 billion.”

“There have been very serious concerns raised about actions taken by Countrywide and we need to know what they stand to gain from this bill,” said Senator DeMint. “This legislation has been rewritten behind closed doors, is over 600 pages long, and we need to know what companies stand to gain from this bill before we vote on it. Americans deserve full transparency on how their tax dollars are being used to bailout mortgage companies that engaged in risky loans. The Banking Committee needs to conduct a full investigation and make public the amounts that individual lenders will receive from this massive bill.”

I have serious concerns about moving forward with a bill that was crafted behind closed doors,” said Senator Bunning.  “It is a real problem for me, my constituents back home, and anyone who believes in transparency in government. This bill is over 600 pages long. The FHA portion alone exposes the taxpayer to $300 billion of risk. It nearly doubles the size of a government program that is already experiencing serious capital reductions. As a member of the Banking Committee I also think we need to take a closer look at exactly who benefits from this bill and by how much.  We owe it to our children and grandchildren to do better.”

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