The current economic crisis continues to take a devastating toll on families and businesses across this nation, and the world.

Never before have we witnessed so much economic turmoil.  Within a matter of months, Americans saw much of their life savings and their home equity disappear. Nest eggs evaporated literally overnight. Plans for a college education dashed.  The dream of homeownership turned into a nightmare of foreclosure. 

Today, unemployment continues to rise, credit markets are in a shambles, and businesses large and small are closing.  The problems in our banking and financial system have infected the global economy, undermining confidence in our own markets.

To boost sagging demand in our economy, the federal government is now spending hundreds of billions of dollars at a pace that is unprecedented in our history.  As the Congress and the new administration put in place measures to resolve this crisis, it is time for the Congress to provide the American people with a clear assessment on how we got into this mess and what ought to be done to prevent it from happening again.

Frankly speaking, given all the money that’s been spent -- the American people deserve a full accounting.  They deserve an honest and unvarnished assessment of the causes of this crisis.  Because, without a thorough diagnosis, how can we make sure that a crisis like this never happens again.

That is why I am joining with Congressman Steven LaTourette in calling for the establishment of an independent, bipartisan commission, charged with examining the root causes of the current global financial crisis.

It would resemble the 9/11 Commission in its objectivity and independence and have one year to investigate the crisis. It would have the authority to refer to law enforcement any evidence that institutions or individuals may have violated existing laws. At the end of its investigation, the Commission will report to the President and to the Congress its recommendations for statutory or regulatory changes necessary to protect our country from a repeat of this financial collapse.

I voted against the Wall Street bailout proposals last fall, because, as I said back then, they did not deal with the root causes of the crisis; they failed to give the American people a full and fair accounting of what happened; and they failed to hold accountable those who caused the crisis.

Today, I still believe we must do this and unless we take these actions, we will be failing in our responsibility as an institution to fully serve the people who elected us.   I urge my colleagues and all Americans to support this proposal.