"Further inaction is simply not an option," McCain said in brief remarks to reporters, his first news conference in more than a month. "We must pass legislation to address this crisis. If we do not, credit will dry up, with devastating consequences for our economy. People will no longer be able to buy homes and their life savings will be at stake. Businesses will not have enough money to pay their employees."
He called the proposed bailout a "staggering" figure that amounts to a $10,000 contribution for each U.S. household, money that could otherwise be used to rebuild roads and bridges in every town in the country. To protect taxpayers, he asked for a bipartisan board to provide oversight, a plan to recover the money, a cap on compensation for executives of firms that are helped by the bailout and a ban on earmarks on the legislation.
McCain stopped short of saying he would vote "no" if his priorities weren't reflected. He said he was confident the final plan would include them.
While members of Congress have agreed in principle on aspects of the administration's proposal, many Democrats and some Republicans, like McCain, have insisted the plan deny "golden parachute" payments to executives at failing financial firms.
"In any solution, we must see accountability, we must see transparency and we must make sure taxpayers' dollars don't line the pockets of executives," McCain said earlier Tuesday while campaigning in Ohio.
McCain spoke briefly after touring Nova Machine Products, which supplies parts to nuclear power plants around the country. He called again for the construction of 45 new nuclear power plants by 2030, both to ease U.S. dependence on foreign oil and to create jobs in the energy sector.