Sen. John Fetterman floated the idea of work requirements for banking executives that receive taxpayer bailouts in remarks during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday that some conservative commentators hammered as “painful” and incoherent.
Fetterman, who is still dealing with lingering auditory processing issues as a result of a stroke he suffered last year, was the last senator to question executives from Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank on Tuesday and at times appeared to struggle to get his point across.
“I’ve heard – some of my colleagues actually heard – that they went to go to Hawaii after there was a crash of your bank, and I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. So I went up on the internet and it’s like, it did happen. It did happen. It did happen,” Fetterman (D-Pa.) said as he held up a headline from The Post on ex-SVB CEO Greg Becker’s post-bank collapse vacation.
“And it’s in Fortune, the second biggest bank in US history collapsed, and chose to go to Hawaii on that. Yeah, I’ve never been to Hawaii, and neither has my family. I guess I haven’t cranked, or excuse me, crashed a bank, you know.”
Later on, the Pennsylvania Democrat appeared to marvel about how much power banking executives have over the state of the economy, and seemed to suggest reining in their behavior in a particularly choppy line of questioning that executives didn’t respond to.
“Is it a staggering response, responsibility that the head of a bank could literally could literally crash our economy? It’s astonishing. That’s like, if you have, I mean, like and they also realize is that now they have it’s in the guaranteed, a guaranteed way to be saved by, again, by no matter, by how, you know, so it’s, you know, isn’t it appropriate that the those kinds of those kinds of controls should be more stricter to prevent this kind of thing from going, or should we just go on and start bailing and sailing whoever bank regardless of how there’s their conduct is?” Fetterman asked.
The 53-year-old senator then seemed to argue that if “Republicans want to give a work requirement for SNAP” bank bailouts should come with work requirements as well.
At least two prominent Republicans seemed to support Fetterman’s idea.
“I’ve never agreed w Fetterman more,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said in a tweet, linking to a clip of the senator’s comments.
I’ve never agreed w Fetterman more https://t.co/GFDS7CGvCW
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) May 17, 2023
Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy also said he supported the idea.
“Senator [Fetterman] says if we attach work requirements to welfare, then bailed-out bank executives should have work requirements too. Deal. Let’s do it. This time I actually agree with him,” Ramaswamy wrote on Twitter.
Adam Jentleson, Fetterman’s chief of staff, said Tuesday that he was shocked by the apparently unscripted remark.
“John Fetterman just asked the Silicon Valley Bank CEO if there should be work requirements for CEOs who crash banks and dear reader, I almost fell out of my chair,” Jentleson said in a tweet.
“I was surprised because we prepped for the hearing but that was not part of it. He came up with it on the spot,” he added.
Others were less impressed.
“John Fetterman is incapable of speech or coherent thought. Good job, Pennsylvania,” Outkick founder Clay Travis wrote on Twitter.
“This is the most painful 90 seconds you will watch all month,” Collin Rugg, co-owner of Trending Politics, said in a tweet.
“An embarrassment for the country,” Brent Scher, the executive editor of the Washington Free Beacon, said of Fetterman’s choppy speech.
Chad Prather, host of the “Chad Prather Show” on Blaze TV, said Fetterman “can’t even complete a sentence” and “should RESIGN immediately and take some time off and focus on his health.”
In response to the mockery of Fetterman’s speech, Joe Calvello, the senator’s communications director, told Fox News Digital, “We have been clear for literally months and months that John continues to have auditory processing issues due to the effects of his stroke.”
“If sickos on the internet want to keep making fun of John for recovering from a health challenge, that’s between them and their consciences,” Calvello said.
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