House Republicans torpedo bailout bill, Democrats avoid disaster

Update [2008-9-29 17:25:11 by Tahoma Activist]: Just checked my email to read a response to my phone calls to Adam Smith.

Here's the most relevant passage: "if we do choose to act, any legislation must change the shortcomings of Secretary Paulson's original proposals. There must be significant oversight from Congress and independent bodies like the Government Accountability Office to serve as checks on the power of the executive branch and to assure any actions by the Treasury Secretary are transparent and open to scrutiny and review. The legislation must limit executive pay in order to prevent the further enrichment of the people who contributed so much to creating this crisis in the first place. It must also strive to give taxpayers a maximum return on our money and put in place provisions that help homeowners facing foreclosure."

So tell me again Adam why you voted for this travesty? Is an oversight board dominated by Bush officials really going to provide anything close to effective "scrutiny and review"?

In a vote of 228 to 205 against, the House has voted no on the proposed financial bailout package.

While it's clear that this outcome has negatively affected the stock market, politically this is not a terrible outcome for the Democrats.  Consider what would have happened had this bill narrowly passed without Republican support.  The American people would have seen Democrats scrambling to save Bush and Wall Street and the Repugs would have run laughing all the way to victory.  As it is, we can point to the more liberal members of our caucus and tell the media that they couldn't in good conscience vote for something that their constituents opposed.

If you're wondering how Pelosi and the Democrats were able to avoid being spanked by the Repugs on this, Congressman Norm Dicks (D-WA) lets us in on a little inside baseball:

"I was surprised, but not shocked," said Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair. "There was a gentleman's agreement that we would put up 140 votes and they (the GOP) would put up 100 votes. If anyone is to blame for this it is the Republicans and a failure of leadership in the White House."

So the Republicans break their promise in order to grandstand politically on this issue and the market reacts with shock and awe.  This will definitely have an impact, but politically it puts us in a strong position.  The real test of the Democratic Caucus will come now, as Pelosi reconvenes the Caucus and decides how to amend the bill to make it more appealing to the American people.

I hope that she pays attention to our leading American populists on this issue, people like David Sirota and Thom Hartmann, and forces Wall Street and the richest Americans to pick up the tab for this and any other future bailouts.

Here's the actual vote breakdown, for those who are interested:

                   Ayes    Nays    Not Voting

Democratic    140    95          
Republican    65    133    1
TOTALS           205     228     1

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What should the House do now about this bailout?
Make the bill more palatable to Republicans and try again.
Redo the entire bill, toughening up the oversight provisions.
Rewrite the bill to exclude Republicans altogether, providing massive support for homeowners and small businesses and rebuilding infrastructure.
Grandstand against Wall Street and the Bush administration and blame McCain and the House Repugs for screwing it up.
Stay in Washington as long as it takes to pass something that the American people support.

Votes: 10
Results | Other Polls
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The Dems were in it to get something passed, but not this bill. If that is truely the case then I don't feel as pissed at the Dems as I do right now, but they are going to try again this week for sure which makes me think it is still going to be a horrible bill.

by Brian on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 02:10:19 PM PST

* 1 none 0 *

It's horrible.

The markets aren't even up.

by dlaw on Wed Oct 01, 2008 at 10:26:30 AM PST

* 2 none 0 *

Adam Smith would like us to think that he represents his constituents.  He doesn't.  Here's a few reasons why:

He buys the lies of the administration and lets them attack and now occupy Iraq.

He says its ok for the government to spy on and do other nasty things to its own people by supporting the patriot act.

He says its ok for people like telephone execs to violate the law without punishment by voting for the fisa act.

(and he's an attorney, or at least say he is).

Now he has just voted for the BAILOUT.  Let's see who benefits from that move.  For sure it will be the people who created this mess in the first place and got very very rich doing it.

I'm a progressive democrat.  I will not support Adam Smith.  In fact, I hope someone who reads this can turn me on to someone willing to run against him who REALLY WILL REPRESENT THEIR CONSTITUENTS.

Maybe its time for a third party!

by leduc on Wed Oct 01, 2008 at 07:30:47 PM PST

* 3 none 0 *

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