Tester: Montanans deserve answers on financial meltdown

Senator outlines questions for Treasury Secretary, Fed Chairman

(WASHINGTON D.C.) – Following the recent turmoil on Wall Street, Senator Jon Tester wants “Main Street answers” to questions he posted today for some of the nation’s most powerful decisionmakers.

At a Banking Committee hearing planned for next Tuesday, Tester will question U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Christopher Cox about the dramatic developments on Wall Street in recent days.

Stocks tumbled after news of the Bush Administration’s $85 billion bailout of insurance giant AIG, the recent government takeover of housing lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the bankruptcy of investment bank Lehman Brothers, which got no help from the federal government.

“This news impacts working families and small businesses across


,” Tester said.  “I’ve got a lot of questions about how the government will be able to help Wall Street without hurting

Main Street


’s taxpayers deserve answers from their government.”

Tester’s questions for next week’s hearing include:

  • How does the government determine which companies deserve help from the federal government? 
  • What is the Fed doing to protect


    taxpayers as much as Wall Street institutions?

  • How far into debt is the Fed willing to go in order to keep big businesses afloat?
  • If a


    farmer can’t pay his creditors, he goes out of business.  Why should we expect anything different from large institutions?

Tester said the recent turmoil on Wall Street reinforces the need for stronger regulation.

“The whole reason I got into politics was because


’s electric utilities were deregulated a decade ago,” Tester said.  “That decision destroyed a stable, 100-year old company, taking many savings and retirement accounts with it.  I don’t want to see that happen on a larger scale.”