Addressing Second Stimulus Package During Growing Economic Concerns

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... >> there's something on with the white stuff dripping off. i need a homer! i need a homer. >> keep the eye on that. >>> meantime, congress is back in session. and with the government seizure of fannie and freddie and buzz about a second stimulus package, economic concerns are obviously a central theme heading into election day. here now with more, house majority leader steny hoyer joins us this morning from washington, d.c. congressman, good to have you back on the program. welcome. >> thank you, carl. good to be with you. >> the general take, over and over again, has been -- it's a shame we had to do this, no one wants to do this, we're not choice. happy about it, but we had no the bigger issue now is how these things are structured going forward. do you agree with that? >> i think that's accurate. i think i talked to secretary paulson on sunday. i agreed with the action. he didn't want to take it. i don't think anybody wanted to take it, but it appeared to be necessary. and i think there's going to bring some stability. i think the market reflected at least a positive response initially, and we have to see where we go from here. >> yeah. did you have a feeling this was going to happen when they first came to the hill? >> well, we certainly hoped it wouldn't come, but you know, we passed a regulatory bill last year, in 2007, sent it over to the senate. unfortunately, it didn't pass until this year, so, we tried to act, and of course, in the first six years under republican leadership, we passed a bill through the house, which most democrats voted for, to try to bring tighter regulation, and it languished and didn't pass in the senate when the republicans were in charge and took a long time when the democrats were in charge. so, we're hopeful that this will stabilize the market. i think it's too early to say exactly what the next steps are going to be. secretary paulson agreed with that and says let's see what happens. >> yeah. everyone -- i mean, it's almost a moot point to try to assign blame at this stage of the game. >> i agree with that. >> but senator mccain and governor palin have a piece on the op ed page of the ""journal"" today saying for years congress failed to act, and that's what the real problem was, that reform wasn't put in place earlier, saying it was really the failure of congress and the success of fannie and freddie's lobbyists. >> you know, it's interesting that the failure of congress to act -- senator mccain continues to deny that the republicans were in charge of the congress for the first six years of this decade. and very frankly, they still control the presidency. so, we haven't been able to take any action without the president's approval, and very frnk frankly, his party has been very resistant to change. as i said, we passed a bill in '05 through the house with significant democratic support, overwhelming democratic support, but the republican senate didn't pass it. we then passed a bill when we took over in may of last year, also sent that to the senate. it got tied up. very frankly, there was disagreement between senator shelby, the republican ranking member, on the direction we wanted to go. and frankly, we were in agreement essentially with secretary paulson. so, it wasn't a disagreement in terms of the administration and ourselves, at least secretary paulson. it was a agreement in the senate. but having said all that, i think you're right. assessing blame, it's very interesting, but what really is going to be important for the american public, for the housing industry, for people who want to get homes and stay in homes, is how we stabilize this market. >> yeah. leader hoyer, the ""journal,"" another piece here -- i don't know whether you saw this -- patron saint of fannie mae. and they've got eight instances about representative barney frank and his enabling of fannie mae. so, it is tough to assign blame. i guess it depends on which paper you read. >> let me say, there's no doubt that we believe fannie mae and freddie mac were important institutions that provided homeownership in this country. they've served that purpose. obviously, with the collapse of the home market, they were the biggest holder of paper, and they took the biggest hit. there's no doubt about that. but the fact of the matter is, they accomplished the objective that the congress and the american people wanted, and that has facilitated a large number, millions and millions of people, being able to get into homes. >> now we're heading into the last couple months of the presidential campaign, and the term second stimulus is coming up again and again. first one, whether you like it or not, certainly helped the data during the summer. >> that's correct. >> do you think a second round has some political legs? >> well, clearly, we've seen unemployment spike up to 6.1%. we've seen the economy continue to be mired. and we believe that the second stimulus package is warranted and necessary, and we are considering the components of that, and certainly, we're worried about people running out of their unemployment insurance, we're worried about people who are going to be faced with heating bills that they can't afford. so, we think the low-income energy assistance program. states are being really stretched with their medicaid obligations. and we think we need to invest in our infrastructure and create additional jobs here at home. when you compare the last -- ...