Schumer, DeMint Spar On Bailout Program

WASHINGTON — Sen. Charles Schumer said Wednesday he believes Congress must act quickly to rebuild the crumbling financial system but that lawmakers must have a strong supervisory role in how the $700 billion bailout program is run.

The New York Democrat said that there if there are provisions for a return of money in connection with the absorption of bad debt at various financial institutions, “it should go to taxpayers before bondholders, shareholders and executives.”

Schumer is a member of the Senate Banking Committee. He also said on NBC’s “Today” show that “we have to have somebody overlooking the Treasury secretary’s shoulder.”

Sen. Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, differed with Schumer, saying Congress should resist the Bush administration’s pleas for the legislation. He said, “The government broke it. I don’t trust them to fix it.”