Parties Blame Each Other for Bailout’s Failure
September 30, 2008 - 7:05 AMBoth conservatives and liberals voted against the $700-billion bill that many Americans view, not as a financial rescue package, but as a Wall Street bailout.
Some Democrats are blaming Republicans – even though 95 Democrats joined 133 Republicans in voting against the measure. In fact, if most of those 95 Democrats had voted for the bill, it would have passed.
Some Republicans place the blame squarely on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for making mean-spirited digs at Republicans on the House floor just before the vote. That caused about a dozen Republicans to withdraw their support for the bill, House Republican leaders said.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is spreading the word that Republicans voted against the bill because their feelings were hurt.
Frank spoke after House Republican Leader John Boehner accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of delivering unnecessarily partisan remarks.
On the House floor, Pelosi deviated from her prepared remarks, saying, “When President Bush took office, he inherited President Clinton's surpluses -- four years in a row, budget surpluses…And with his reckless economic policies within two years, he had turned that around,” Pelosi said. “[A]nd now eight years later, the foundation of that fiscal irresponsibility, combined with an anything-goes economic policy, has taken us to where we are today. They claim to be free-market advocates when it's really an anything-goes mentality, no regulation, no supervision, no discipline.”
Boehner blasted Pelosi for giving “a partisan voice that poisoned our conference, caused a number of members we thought we could get, to go south.”
Americans are angry, and so are Republicans, Boehner said. He said it’s time to concentrate on finding a solution that Congress can support. “I do believe that we could have gotten there today had it not been for this partisan speech that the speaker gave on the floor of the House.”
House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) said Pelosi’s comments could have cost the bill about 12 Republican votes.
Rep. Barney Frank said Republicans "decided to punish the country" because their feelings were hurt. "Give me the names of those 12 people and I'll go talk uncharacteristically nice to them," he said.
Later, after the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 went down to defeat, Pelosi told a press conference that Democrats had “delivered on our side of the bargain.” (140 Democrats and 65 Republicans voted for the bill.)
Invoking the “gravity of the situation,” Pelosi said “action is necessary to stabilize the markets and to protect the taxpayer.”
Then, in another swipe at Republicans, Pelosi said, “Clearly, that message has not been received yet by the Republican Caucus. But again, we extend a hand of cooperation to the White House, to the Republicans, so that we can get this issue resolved for the benefit of America's working families, to strengthen our economy, and therefore strengthen our country.”
Republican leaders agree that something has to be done:
“At the end of the day this is not about Democrats or Republicans, it's about our economy and what's best for the American people,” Boehner said. “And regardless of what happened today…we have no choice, in my view, but to work together to try to find a solution to make sure that we save our economy and we save our constituents.”
One conservative Republican who voted against the bill spoke for those who see it as a fat-cat bailout:
"Despite days of negotiating, this is still the same bailout bill, written by a Wall Street guy with a Wall Street solution to a problem created on Wall Street," said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.). "This bill was still a blank check to Henry Paulson," he said.
"We've got to put partisanship aside," Blunt told a Capitol Hill press conference after the vote. “And, remember, we're not in the majority in the Congress that failed to act today,” he added.