DNC Chairman Tim Kaine's Statement on President Obama's Proposal of a New Financial Responsibility Fee

Jan 14, 2010, 14:52 ET from Democratic National Committee

Fee Will Ensure that Nation's Largest Financial Institutions Make American Taxpayers Whole

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- DNC Chairman Tim Kaine issued the following statement after President Obama announced his proposal for a new fee on the nation's largest financial institutions - the "Financial Responsibility Fee." The fee would only be levied on firms with more than $50 billion in assets and the size of the fee would be determined based on a percentage of the firm's liabilities. It is estimated to raise about $90 billion over the next 10 years (60 percent of which would be come from the 10 largest financial firms) and would fully repay the American people for the extraordinary assistance they provided Wall Street during the financial crisis.

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"During the fall of 2008, Wall Street was on the brink of complete collapse. Financial institutions were shutting their doors, as credit markets froze up and our entire financial system came to a grinding halt.

"American taxpayers came to the rescue of some of our nation's largest financial institutions -- indeed taxpayer dollars made it possible for many of these firms to keep their doors open.

"A return to business as usual on Wall Street is not an option. President Obama's announcement today sends a strong message that the days of widespread abuse and reckless decision-making that put our entire system in peril are over. The penchant for risky bets to reap big rewards that led to a near collapse of Wall Street will no longer be tolerated. It sends a message that President Obama and his economic team won't stand by while big banks reap huge profits and pay out massive bonuses that don't comport with the reality of the economic situation on Main Street.

"The proposed fee will raise approximately $90 billion from 50 firms over the next 10 years. It will ensure the American people are repaid every penny they are owed for the unprecedented assistance they provided Wall Street during the financial crisis, while prioritizing fairness and fiscal responsibility instead of abuse and excess.

"Not surprisingly, the Republican Party has already lined up with the banks and the financial industry to oppose this effort to hold financial institutions accountable for their risky behavior and protect taxpayers. In their zeal to 'deregulate', Republicans turned the other way when these risky bets were made, ignored the crisis until it was too late and now they are standing with the very financial institutions which sank our economy in the first place instead of with the American people. Democrats will stand with President Obama on this issue and our hope is that Republicans will come around and stop siding with the big banks and their special interest friends instead of American taxpayers."

SOURCE Democratic National Committee