Subject: Sighting: Senator Bob Bennett's speech to the DC Y2K users group
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 98
At the Great Hall at Fannie Mae headquarters in Washington D.C., Senator Bob Bennett (R. Utah) provided some new insights into the extent of the Y2K problems facing our nation before a standing room only crowd of 300+ members of the DC Y2K users group. Here are the highlights.
1) Senator Bennett has spoken with Alan Greenspan who has assured the Senator that Federal Reserve Banks and branches throughout the country will have substantial cash on hand in the event of a liquidity crisis due to the Y2K problem. Senator Bennett has stated that he himself will have sufficient cash in his pocket to see himself through the crisis. (Did someone say Bank panic of 1907?).
2) Senator Bennett quoted Alan Greenspan as saying "We will have problems in the banking industry."
3) Senator Bennett stated that the banking industry MUST recognize that it will not fix all of the Y2K problems and that it must implement contingency planning and enter into a "triage" mentality, in his words keep the financial system alive, barely, at all costs until the problem is ultimately fixed after the Year 2000. Banks must decide what is mission critical and what is not. For those systems that are not mission critical, financial institutions MUST implement contingency plans for the manual performance of all functions formally performed by defunct computer systems.
4) Senator Bennett stated that on New Year's Eve 1999, he will do his best to not be in an elevator, airplane or a hospital.
5) In response to a question by a computer programmer, he said he will begin to consider Y2K safe harbor legislation that will provide liability protection to companies and computer programmers such that if they do x, y, & z, they may not be held liable in subsequent Y2K lawsuits. Write to your Congressman & Senator!
6) Arthur Levitt has stated that the heads of stock exchanges worldwide have no idea about Y2K. In addition, the conversion to the Euro is hampering Europe's Y2K conversion
7) The three federal agencies with the most Y2K problems are the IRS, FAA and HCFA (Health Care Financing Administration ...the Medicare & Medicaid agency).
8) Senator Bennett stated: "I believe this will set off a worldwide recession." He cited Ed Yardeni's recent estimate of a 60% chance a global recession.
9) Finally, Senator Bennett stated, although no official announcement has been made, next week Senator Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) and Senator Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) will request the formation of a new Senate Committee that will have jurisdiction across all industries and and all federal agencies with the single task of looking into the Y2K problem. The Committee will not have authority to refer legislation to the floor of the Senate, however, it will make policy recommendations to other Senate Committees.
Anthony S. Higgins Staff Attorney Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson 1001 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DC 20004 (firstname.lastname@example.org) (202) 639-7294