The final bailout vote count is 205 Y and 228 N, which means that one representative, specifically Republican Jerry Weller of Illinois 11th Congressional district (“The Fightin’ 11th!” as Stephen Colbert might say), didn’t vote at all. A full list of who voted which way is here.
So now that the bill has been defeated and the markets have plunged nearly 800 points on the news, it’s time to play the blame game. Who voted no, and why?
WSJ: Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas) said he understands the “grave situation that every American will face should our credit markets freeze,” but warned the bailout would fundamentally change the role of government in the economy. “I cannot in good conscience support this legislation,” he said.
That’s lovely, but there might not be much of an economy left to save if the government doesn’t act fast.
Another “no” vote came from Democratic Representative Lynn Woolsey, from California.
[She] said there still were “major questions unanswered” about the need for bailout. She said Wall Street isn’t being asked to pony up enough to fund the rescue, and voiced doubts about whether the Bush administration—which engineered a series of earlier market interventions, including the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – should be trusted this go-around.
“President Bush and Secretary Paulson have been wrong from the start about just about everything,” she said.
Well then. We guess there’s no persuading her to vote differently.
The New York Times sums up the no votes thusly, “Members of both parties, doing a quick political post-mortem, said those who voted no had encountered too much hostility for the bill among their constituents, and were worried that a vote in favour would be political suicide.”
The Times then adds: Representative Darrell Issa, a Republican, said he was “resolute” in his opposition to the measure because it would betray party principles and amount to “a coffin on top of Ronald Reagan‘s coffin.”
One other notable “no” vote came from former Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, who vocally opposed the bill before the House on Sunday (video below), noting that Wall Street was a place of bears and bulls and insisting that it was “not smart to force taxpayers to dance with bears.” Indeed, Congressman.
Meanwhile Republicans are claiming it was Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “partisan speech” that scuttled the bill.
WSJ’s Deal Journal blog: House Minority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio) said that Pelosi’s speech “poisoned” the Republican caucus and “caused a number of members we thought we could get to go south.”
“I do believe that we could have gotten there today, had it not been for the partisan speech that the Speaker gave on the floor of the House,” Boehner said. “We put everything we had into getting the vote to get there today.” Boehner added, however, that lawmakers have “no choice” but to work together and would have to find “a middle ground to bring enough votes to avert a crisis.”
Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R., Mo.) said he had 12 Republicans who would have voted for the bill but changed their minds, while Rep. Eric Cantor (R., Va.) holding up a copy of what he said was Pelosi’s floor remarks – said the speaker “frankly struck the tone of partisanship.”
So what now?
WSJ: The Bush-backed package now faces an uncertain future, though party leaders on both sides of the aisle are sure to consider revising the initiative, which Mr. Bush said Monday is needed to “keep the crisis in our financial system from spreading throughout our economy.”
After the vote, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio) said there would be an effort to bring back another bill, with further changes. “We’ve got to find a true middle ground,” he said. “We need everybody to calm down and relax and get back to work.”
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