Cohen heads to Washington with ideas for ending stalemate

Steve Cohen
Steve Cohen

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Congressman Steve Cohen stressed Tuesday that his constituents recognize that what is being worked on in Washington is a rescue plan - not a bailout. Cohen's comments came as he prepared to head back to Washington with changes he'd like to add to the plan.

In an interview with Action News 5, Cohen said President Bush's $700 billion plan needs two changes to bring an end to a stalemate between Democrats and Republicans.

"I'm advancing it to leadership on Thursday.  I think it will be discussed, and it will be advanced, and I think it can solve our political and economic crisis," he said.

The first change would involve raising the amount of insurance that protects money in the bank.

"Raise FDIC insurance from $100,000 to $200,000," Cohen said. "Senators Barack Obama and House Republicans have joined that call now.  They've come out calling for $250,000."

Second, Cohen said, he wants all banks to stop an accounting practice called "mark to market." Under the practice, the value of a person's home could go down just because a neighbor sold a house for a lesser amount.

Cohen's plan would have banks use real market values for their assets.

"Not a fair market value, but a real market value, which will give them more moneys that they can have available to make loans," Cohen said. "The credit crisis is the major crisis that we have, and this accounting practice inhibits them from the ability to use the capital that they have."

Cohen said Democrats and Republicans have come to an agreement on oversight issues. He plans to support the rescue plan to ease fears, but he would like to see more government oversight.

"I would like to see more oversight.  I would like to see more judicial authority," Cohen said.

When asked when he thinks Democrats and Republicans will finally come to an agreement in Congress to bring an end to financial fears across America, Cohen was optimistic.

"Hopefully on Thursday, maybe Friday. But hopefully we can be finished by the weekend," he said.

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