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Democratic Response to GW. Bush’s Radio Address

Southern Illinois Lawmaker To Give Democratic Response to President Bush’s Weekly Radio Address

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Below is the text of U.S. Representative David Phelps' (D-IL) address that he will be giving as the Democratic radio response to the President’s weekly radio address.

Please note that this text is embargoed until 11:06am Eastern Time on Saturday, July 13, 2002.

Rep. David Phelps (IL-19)
Democratic Radio Response
July 13, 2002

"Hello. This is Congressman David Phelps from Southern Illinois.

"Thousands of workers across this nation have already been laid off due to the corrupt accounting scandals of Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, and others. Countless Americans have invested their hard-earned money and their trust in these companies, only to see their savings vanish. Confidence in corporate management has been shattered and Wall Street has taken a beating.

"As another day passes and as more information comes out regarding these accounting scandals, there are several proposals before Congress that seek to crack down on these corporate wrong-doings, protect workers and shareholders, and restore consumer confidence in the stock market.

"We face a debate that is not a dispute between Washington and Wall Street. We know that many thoughtful business leaders that play by the rules and support reform. Instead, this is a debate between those who are opposed to real reform and those who believe that strong initiatives are the appropriate response to the current crisis. Unfortunately, the opportunity for bipartisan reform is being fought by special interests.

"Well, I say enough is enough. Our nation’s workers and investors are looking to Congress and the President to take immediate action to clean up this wrong-doing and pass tougher rules and penalties that will hopefully prevent future scandals. We cannot allow another day to go by without action, and I call on every Member of Congress to join with me in passing the Sarbanes-LaFalce Comprehensive Investor Protection Act.

"This legislation calls for tough corporate responsibility and strict accounting industry reforms, ensures that corporate executives are held accountable for their actions, further protects investors and pensions, imposes tough criminal and civil penalties on corporate wrongdoers, and will keep auditors, like Arthur Andersen, and stock analysts honest and independent.

"It’s not enough to just talk about accountability and responsibility in the corporate world; you have to act to ensure it. The test for the President and for all Members of Congress is not whether we share the outrage that the workers and shareholders in these companies feel – we do – the question is whether we are all willing to come together to take action on that outrage and pass this legislation, which will actually help solve the problem.

"Where I am from, there aren’t a lot of large corporations. But there are a lot of small businesses and small companies in Southern Illinois that play by the rules, treat their employees fairly, and work to promote the best interest of the company, not the CEOs. If these small business owners break the rules, they are punished. Why should large corporations and corporate officers not have to live by the same rules of honesty as the small businessman? It seems to me, that if people break the rules, whether they work for a small business or a large corporation, they should be punished.

"To me this is a matter of trust, honor and integrity. These are the values that we teach our kids and grandkids and we must demand the same from all business leaders and corporate executives. The corporate executives of Enron, WorldCom and many others violated our trust and dishonored our way of doing business and they must be held accountable.

"It’s time we put some teeth into protecting employees and investors from these corporate misdeeds and hold the wrongdoers accountable. Passing the Sarbanes-LaFalce legislation is essential to restoring trust and confidence in corporate America and protecting investors, employees and corporate officials who play by the rules, thereby improving our nation’s economic growth today and for the future.

"This is Congressman David Phelps. Thank you so much for listening and May God bless America."

###

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