Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi: We Need to End the Practice of Giving Executives 'Golden Parachutes'

June 21, 2002

Washington, D.C. -- Today the House of Representatives is debating H.R. 4931, the Republican Leadership's bill to permanently repeal the sunset of the Retirement Savings Security Act. Because the bill does not address the issue of corporate governance, Democrats introduced a substitute that repeals the sunset on pensions and also provides real reform of corporate malfeasance. The following is the statement given on the House floor this afternoon by Democratic Whip Nancy Pelosi (D-CA):

“If we have learned anything from Enron, Arthur Andersen and others, it is that some corporations do not act in the best interests of investors, consumers or even their own employees. But the Republican majority has ignored the issue of corporate malfeasance.

What little they have done to address the Enron crisis has actually weakened current law protecting employee pensions. The Democratic substitute on the floor today offers common sense protections and reforms. It ends the practice of giving executives 'golden parachutes' while workers in the companies they helped bankrupt are left to crash to the ground.

The Democratic legislation would keep tax dollars from disappearing into the Bermuda Triangle by barring corporations from creating shell corporations in Bermuda or other offshore locations.

Under the Democratic bill, corporate executives could no longer protect their retirement benefits while leaving employees with worthless stock. And the Democratic bill would help moderate and low-income individuals plan for their futures by extending a tax credit that encourages retirement savings.

Mr. Speaker, those who oppose reform claim that reigning in corporate excess we will stamp out the entrepreneurial spirit that makes this country great. Coming from California, where the entrepreneurial spirit is in the air and in the water, I say that the spirit to innovate, originate and invent will not be crushed by a ban on lying cheating and stealing.

One of our founding fathers, James Madison, once noted: 'If all men were angels, no government would be necessary.' Every day in the headlines, we see that we are not angels.

We in Congress have a responsibility to protect hard-working Americans. The Democratic substitute does just that, and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this common-sense substitute and oppose the underlying bill."


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