By Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Mechanicsville)
This week, the House passed legislation to recoup taxpayer dollars after AIG used financial stabilization funds for bonuses. We are all outraged that AIG could act so irresponsibly. The House took quick action to get taxpayer money back and ensure that funds are not being wasted for the sole benefit of the very people who played a key role in creating this economic crisis. I hope the Senate will take action soon, and Congress will continue to look at ways to ensure companies receiving taxpayer assistance will not use that money for bonuses.
At the same time that were making sure our large businesses are acting responsibly, were also guaranteeing that our small businesses are getting the help they need. On Monday, the Obama Administration took a positive step to free up credit for small businesses. In order to meet todays challenges, small business owners need access to loans to ensure that they can grow, be successful, and play a key part in restoring the strength of our nation's economy. I applaud the Administration for its continued efforts to help provide relief to small businesses, which builds on significant steps already taken by the Congress in the Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
During this time of crisis, more Americans are looking for ways to help their country. This week, the House passed the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, which will create outlets for service so people of all ages can contribute to our nations recovery. A top priority of President Obama, this legislation will increase the size of the AmeriCorps program and create new service opportunities to volunteer in fields such as clean energy and education. I hope we can quickly send this bill to the President for his signature.
Next week, the House will consider the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, which will designate more than 2 million acres across the country as wilderness and expand protections for existing national parks, rivers and water resources. We will also consider the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement Act, which will establish a permanent fund for fighting wildfires.