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Bachus Open to Stimulus, Feels Vindicated

The ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee said Saturday he feels vindicated that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson belatedly embraced his idea for investing directly in U.S. banks, and he said he’s now so confident in the U.S. stock market that he invested more of his own money this week. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), who played a major role in the drama over the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, said the markets have become consumed with “irrational pessimism,” but said he believes the decision to invest $250 billion directly in banks is starting to restore confidence. “It does look like credit markets are unfreezing,” he said. Bachus, who made the comments on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers,” said some of the panic in the markets could have been avoided if Paulson had shown a willingness to invest in the banks originally, because it wouldn’t have been viewed as a bailout and could have been accomplished in as little as 72 hours. “Injecting capital into the system is quicker, it’s simpler, and it’s safer for the taxpayer,” Bachus said, preferring it to Paulson’s proposal to buy up toxic assets that are clogging up the financial system. Bachus also said that if there is a need for another stimulus bill after the elections, he would like to see an infrastructure package that would accelerate water, sewer and road projects already scheduled to be built in the next year or two. “If we do that, what I would hope we do are some things that we have to do, things that are on our to-do list anyway,” he said. But Bachus said he’s concerned about increasing the deficit, associating himself with statements made by former presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) on the country’s massive debt. “We’ve got to cut back on some of our government programs,” he said. “We’ve got to reform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.” Bachus added that he and his wife added to their investments in the stock market this past week, agreeing with Warren Buffett, who penned an article Friday recommending purchases of U.S. stocks. “I wish I had waited until Friday like Warren,” Bachus said. “I think that now is a wonderful time to invest.” The C-SPAN interview with Bachus will air Sunday at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

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