Lawrence's congressional representatives and their election opponents are in agreement in saying that taxpayer protection had to be a top priority in any kind of bailout of Wall Street.
On Wednesday, President Bush, seeing opposition mounting to his original plan to use $700 billion in tax dollars to address the financial credit crisis, said he was willing to accept oversight and efforts to remove the risks to taxpayers in the proposal.
"Our economy is in danger," Bush said in trying to explain why he thought the rescue effort was needed. But he added that he understood taxpayers' wariness about using tax dollars to rescue failed financial institutions.
Lynn Jenkins, the Republican candidate for the 2nd Congressional District, said Bush's plan needs to be revised "so that we don't bail out or reward greedy executives and the people responsible."
She added, "The top priority should be to make sure taxpayers get a fair shake. But we also need to be careful we don't overreact or over-regulate, causing even more turmoil to a struggling economy."
Her opponent, U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Topeka, who represents the district that includes west Lawrence, on Tuesday issued a news release critical of Bush's original three-page proposal.
Boyda said any congressional action to help the financial markets must protect taxpayers, restore the availability of credit, protect responsible banks, enact regulations to prevent another meltdown, and prevent "those responsible for this mess from profiting in the rescue."
Democrats also were pushing for a reduction in the size of the plan and then allowing the Bush administration to seek more money from Congress if it was needed.
U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Lenexa, whose 3rd Congressional District includes east Lawrence, said he would work on a bipartisan response that would strengthen oversight and increase transparency of the financial services sector.
"This emergency requires a significant response, and I will work with Republicans and Democrats to ensure we execute a balanced plan that minimizes taxpayer money exposure in the long run," Moore said. He accused Bush of being "missing in action" for the past two weeks.
Republican Nick Jordan, who is challenging Moore, said, "First, Wall Street highfliers must take their lumps."
Jordan added that taxpayers must be thought of first. "On the one hand, American taxpayers cannot be expected to completely fund any bailout, and on the other hand, we must protect them from economic disaster that would impact the lives of average Americans," he said.
Democrat Jim Slattery who is running against U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said Bush's $700 billion plan made him "mad as hell."
"I am outraged that hard-working Kansas taxpayers are being asked by the Bush administration to clean up the mess made by greedy Wall Street money changers, incompetent regulators, and members of Congress," Slattery said.
Roberts' office said that Roberts was giving the matter his full attention.
"He has been meeting with Secretary Paulson, trying to address the very serious concerns and questions he is hearing from Kansans regarding the Treasury proposal. The entire Congress is still awaiting the final details of the proposal. The Senate is not expected to act until the House passes legislation so this process is still very fluid and evolving on an almost hourly basis," Roberts' office said.
And U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, has also expressed concerns about the plan.
He indicated he supported a proposal that would give taxpayers equity in firms that sell assets to the government.