Leahy-Authored Language Strikes Court Stripping Provisions In Bush Bailout Proposal

WASHINGTON – Language authored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to strike the Bush administration’s plan to eliminate court review from its proposed bailout plan has been included in the Democratic counterproposal released by Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) today.

The Bush administration’s proposal unveiled Saturday includes a provision to eliminate any and all court review of decisions made by the Secretary of the Treasury related to the purchase mortgage related assets from banks and financial institutions.  The administration’s proposal would provide the Treasury Department with up to $700 billion to purchase troubled mortgages and financial loans.

The Leahy-authored language included in the Democratic proposal released Monday morning restores traditional court review and allows courts to set aside the Treasury Secretary’s actions if they are found to be “arbitrary,  capricious, an abuse of discretion, or not in accordance with the law.”

“I would like to see progress toward a balanced bill to address the disastrous effects of eight years of the Bush administration’s hands-off economic policies,” said Leahy.  “But passing legislation that eliminates the role of the courts in reviewing the decisions and policies of the administration invites abuse.”

Leahy continued, “I am pleased Senator Dodd has included my language to allow for court review in his proposal.  As the Congress considers this important legislation, I hope we are careful to ensure that the American taxpayers’ money is not misspent, misplaced, and mishandled, without even so much as the possibility of review and recourse for bad decisions.”

The Treasury Department has asked the Congress to consider the legislation this week.

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Leahy-authored language concerning court review:

Section 8.  Limits on Review

In General – Any determination of the Secretary with regard to any particular troubled asset pursuant to this Act shall be final, and shall not be set aside unless such a determination is found to be arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or not in accordance with the law.

Bush administration proposed language on court review:

Section 8. Review.

Decisions made by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

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