The Housing Chronicles Blog: Politics derails bipartisian bailout plan

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Politics derails bipartisian bailout plan

In the beginning, there was a $700 billion Plan (at least the first phase of it), and some thought it was good (others weren't so sure). Then the President went on national television to explain the catastrophic consequences of failing to approve the Plan (i.e., a potential Depression), which some thought good and others thought was simply more fear-mongering.

The Plan was about to be approved and then -- Poof! -- Republican candidate John McCain put his campaign on hold and swept into Washington to -- what? derail the Plan? fly off to Alaska with Sarah Palin and watch Russia from a doorstep? -- and now it seems that Congress is at an impasse. Obama's waiting for a Plan to be announced first before he issues his own specifics on what to do (sort of like voting "Present" instead of "Yes" or "No").

Rome -- burning. Leaders -- fiddling. Voters -- really sorry now that they thought the proper way to vote for candidates of high office was to consider sharing a beer (although that Shiner Bock from Texas is good stuff!). From a New York Times story:

The status of a rescue plan for the nation’s financial system was in doubt on Thursday, at least for the moment, as lawmakers emerged from a meeting with President Bush to say that negotiations had a ways to go...

One critical snag seems to be opposition to the $700 billion plan by conservative House Republicans.

“My hope is that we can get a deal,” said Senator Christopher J. Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, hours after House and Senate negotiators had announced that an accord was at hand. President Bush had hoped that an agreement could be announced after the late-afternoon meeting.

Mr. Dodd, looking tired and annoyed, complained that the late complications were making the episode sound more like “a rescue plan for John McCain,” the Republican presidential candidate, than one for the financial system.

It does no good, Mr. Dodd said, “to be distracted for two or three hours by political theater.”...

Mr. McCain and his Democratic opponent, Senator Barack Obama, left the White House by a side entrance without commenting. The initial silence of the presidential candidates reinforced the impression that thorny issues still need to be addressed...

It has become abundantly clear, that members of Congress are hearing from their constituents, many of whom are furious about the proposed rescue.

Democrats said that Senate and House Democrats and Senate Republicans and the White House were ready to hammer out a deal, but that House Republicans balked.

“We were ready to make a deal,” said Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, who attended the meeting and was standing next to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Mr. Paulson Jr. asked for more time.

“The House Republicans now tell us we’re not for this, we have got something else,” Mr. Frank said.

He complained that the new House Republican counter-proposal included ideas about private mortgage insurance and a cut in the capital gains tax that Mr. Paulson had already testified would not work...

Conservative Republicans, in particular, have said that such a huge government intervention violated their free market principles.

A senior Republican lawmaker, speaking on condition of anonymity so as not to undermine the party leadership, said there was a “violent reaction” among House Republicans to the Paulson plan. He said backers of the alternative, one of several that have been proposed in the House, are calculating that they can force the negotiators to accept it as part of a larger deal.


1 comment:

marvin said...

There are still lots of billion of dollars left from the $700 billion bank bailout, and, according to news, there could be a debate in congress on how the remaining money be dealt with. IMO, the bailout plan somehow help some companies but there are still lots of them who are under crisis. I just hope that the remaining fund will be used wisely to lessen the economic crisis.