U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., said Monday that the rescue of the nation’s financial sector a year ago helped save the country from entering a depression.
“Some of these financial institutions are already paying the money back that was given to them by Congress, and I hope that continues and increases, too,” Moore said after addressing the Lawrence Rotary Club. “We want to get virtually all of the taxpayers’ money back. But it did have, I think, the desired effect, and that’s why I think they were able to pay this money back now.”
Moore, whose district includes eastern Lawrence, said he has seen positive signs recently in the nation’s economy but that some difficulties remain, including high unemployment rates in Kansas and across the country.
The Democrat spoke at the Lawrence Holidome a week before Congress returns to Washington from its summer break. The Obama administration is seeking major legislation to address health care reform, energy policy and financial regulation.
Concerning the economy, Moore touted federal stimulus funding to states and said it helped provide construction jobs, especially to make highway repairs. He said that because of high unemployment rates, Congress would still need to take a further look at the economy.
“I’m afraid it’s going to take a little longer than anybody wants, but I think we’re going to make a full recovery,” he said.
Moore is chairman of the House Financial Services subcommittee on oversight and investigations. He said he could call hearings on bonuses certain financial sector companies granted once they received federal funds to keep from going bankrupt. American International Group Inc. found itself in a furor in March after granting $165 million in retention bonuses.
“The money was to keep financial institutions afloat so our country didn’t go into a depression, not to pay excessive bonuses to people who maybe didn’t very well manage some of those institutions,” Moore said.
On health care reform, Moore also restated his support for a public health insurance option to compete with private insurance companies. He is one of only three of the 52-member Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally conservative Democrats to support the public option.