I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the $700 billion bailout bill failed in Congress today on a truly bipartisan vote: 140 Democrats for, 95 against; 65 Republicans for, 133 against.
In the House, Bruce Braley, Tom Latham and Steve King voted no, while Dave Loebsack and Leonard Boswell voted yes.
The full statement from Braley’s office is after the jump. I will update this post with full statements from Iowa’s other members of Congress as they become available. The Des Moines Register has excerpts from each representative’s statement here:
Senator Tom Harkin spoke out against the bailout several days ago.
UPDATE: I encourage those of you who support this bailout to read these notes from a conference call Treasury had with about 800 Wall Street analysts. If you click the link you can even download a recording of the call and listen yourself. The notes at that site are plenty for me. All of the “concessions” the Democrats got were meaningless:
1. The tranching is a mere formality, and the Treasury boys as much as said so. They could take the $700 billion max as soon as the bill has passed,
2. However, they do not plan any action immediately, will wait a couple of weeks. They want to focus their efforts on stronger companies but also made noise about protecting the financial system. This, by the way, is the Japanese convoy system all over.
5. The exec comp provisions sound like a joke, They DO NOT affect existing contracts, they affect only contracts entered into during the two years of the authority of this program and then affect only golden parachutes. More detail on that point, but I don’t need more detail to get the drift of the gist.
Regarding that second point about Treasury planning to wait a couple of weeks before doing anything, I totally agree with this analysis:
Waiting a couple of weeks because no one has any idea when or where the next bomb will blow up. In other words, all their doomsday scenarios about Black Monday were B.S. They screamed the check had to be written by Monday, but now they’re saying they actually have a few weeks before they need to cash it. Plus, this will allow them to “seek guidance” from GS, JPM, and other selfless public servants about where the money should be funneled.
Remember, a Treasury official admitted to Forbes last week that they made up the $700 billion number. There was no analysis supporting that number.
I think Jerome Armstrong is right on target:
It’s almost as if, the administration thought this election through already, and decided that if they could bust the budget wide enough, then Democrats, incoming with 60 votes in the Senate, 250 in the House, and a President, would be able to do nothing but cut costs. Try to spend anything in ‘09, and the Republicans would be re-born as fiscal deficit hawks running against the spendster libruls.
I don’t pretend to know the solution here, other than taking the fiscal downer now, which is admittedly trite. I also have to wonder about the tact to ‘own’ this thing as well, making it a Democratic bill that takes on Bush, which has its own set of problems. Its become so poisoned that to let the Republicans off the hook would seem to be handing them a gift. At the end of the day, I am doubtful that this “no” sticks, and won’t be at all surprised to see a dozen votes flip to pass this behemoth budget buster pass as is. We win it all, and are able to do nothing but raise taxes and cut spending.
Folks, this is a trap that will enrich a bunch of people while doing little to help the overall economy.
Final point: I totally disagree with Nate Silver, who said this about retiring members of Congress who voted for the bailout:
The congressmen who are retiring this year — and who therefore can perhaps be described as the most neutral arbiters of the public good — voted overwhelmingly for this measure.
Neutral arbiters of the public good?
A lot of retired members of Congress go work at lobbying firms, “consult” with investment banks or get paid to serve on corporate boards. I reject the premise that their support for the bailout means it was a good idea.
September 29, 2008
Contact: Nicole Buseman, Press Secretary
(202) 225-2911 (office)
(202) 297-6725 (cell)
Braley Opposes $700 Billion Wall Street Bailout
Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) released the following statement after voting against the $700 billion Wall Street bailout plan:
“I have no doubt that action must be taken to stabilize our financial markets, protect American taxpayers, and rebuild our economy. As I carefully considered the plan before the House today, I made my decision with the best interest of Iowa families in mind. I cannot support a multi-billion dollar handout to Wall Street that fails to adequately protect the interests of Iowa taxpayers, and short-changes Iowa families.
“Wall Street greed and lack of oversight by the Bush Administration caused the current problems in our financial markets. Now Iowa taxpayers are being asked to save these companies from their irresponsible choices. Working families should not be forced to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes, without stronger language to protect their interests. While putting taxpayers on the hook for nearly a trillion dollars, the bill provides insufficient protection against abuses by the Secretary, fails to guarantee a return on taxpayer dollars, and provides no direct help for middle class families. This is the wrong approach.
“For far too long, this Administration has ignored the needs on Iowa ‘s Main Streets, while preaching the gospel of “wealth-at-any-cost” on Wall Street. Many families in Iowa were being squeezed by rising costs and natural disasters before this economic crisis, yet this bailout does little to help Iowa families make ends meet.
“To help our economy grow, we should also be investing in the future of our country by rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure and creating jobs that can’t be outsourced overseas, like the 15,000 employees AIG has in China. We should increase our investment in renewable energy, to create jobs at home and move our country away from foreign oil. Devoting hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out Wall Street will limit our ability to make these critical investments.
“While I agree that we must take action on our economy, today’s plan benefits Wall Street CEOs while leaving working families to fend for themselves. This plan doesn’t go far enough to help Iowans at risk of losing their homes, jobs or savings, nor does it provide the resources necessary to invest in the future. Iowa ‘s working families and taxpayers deserve better.”