Monday, September 29, 2008

The Bailout Vote

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This morning Michael Moore sent a letter out claiming the bailout vote this morning would be a coup by the rich; nevertheless, many of the rich's pet legislators have to put on a pained fake front that it disgusts and horrifies them to have to vote for it. And that's a very bipartisan thing.
After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies-- who must soon vacate the White House-- are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.

No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday's New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:

"Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.

"Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.

"At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.


"Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury's proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions."

Unbelievable. Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. Even Rudy Giuliani is lobbying for his firm to be hired (and paid) to "consult" in the bailout.

House Republicans didn't elect John Boehner their leader after DeLay was indicted and fell from power in a series of sordid corruption scandals because of his tactical brilliance or his ideological purity. They picked him because of his powerful connections to K Street and his ability and willingness to access a great deal of lobbyist and corporate money and share it with his colleagues. Normal Americans may have been sickened at the sight of John Boehner handing out checks from the tobacco industry in the middle of a debate on smoking legislation on the floor of the House, but Republicans got woodies.

Now Boehner, who is viewed as lazy and spends an inordinate amount of time on the golf course and in his favorite tanning booth, is fighting for his leadership role. Tasked by the White House with rounding up enough votes to pass the hated Paulson bailout bill, Boehner is coming under increasing pressure from the lunatic fringe of his own party, Jeb Hensarling's neo-fascist Republican Study Committee. Far right show-boats from that the furthest reaches of the ideological right, like Mike Pence, have already declared that they are breaking their policy of reflexive rubber stamp posture towards the Bush Regime and will vote with progressive Democrats against the corrupt bill.

His life was complicated by McCain, who demanded that whatever happened he get all the credit.. Boehner tends to go along with anyone who talks to him long enough so that he misses time on the links. He's easily buffeted from one extreme to another and is the classic compromise candidate for leadership. But he still brings in the big bucks so even many of the conservatives who detest him ideologically, accept him as their leader. Ideologues like Eric Cantor and Mike Pence may have a fascist-leaning agenda, but they are easily bought off when enough money is waved under their snouts. Boehner has managed to co-opt both over and over.
Once Boehner gave the appearance he was open to the Treasury’s bailout plan, he faced an open revolt from his caucus’ right flank. And on Sept. 26, the minority leader was forced to replace his chief negotiator, Spencer Bachus of Alabama [the biggest single Republican recipient of bribes from the industries that caused the Wall Street meltdown], with Minority Whip Roy Blunt.

Democrats and the administration complained that Bachus had no authority to negotiate, but the final blow came when RSC members accused Bachus of “drinking the Kool-Aid,” as one angry lawmaker put it, and demanded his removal for standing by mutely during a Sept. 25 press conference where negotiators proclaimed that a deal was nearly done.

House GOP leadership changes appear certain no matter how the elections affect the balance of power in the House. Blunt has been deflecting rumors for months that he is considering retirement after winning a new term. Should that happen, his successor would almost certainly be his chief deputy whip, Cantor, an RSC member with broad support in the caucus.

Some Republicans predict Cantor would elevate Hensarling to be his top lieutenant. A prominent photo on Cantor’s Web site shows the two men alone, with Hensarling just over his ally’s right shoulder.

If Blunt stays on, Cantor and his allies might challenge Boehner, or perhaps try to replace [his personal fluffer] Republican Conference Chairman Adam H. Putnam of Florida.

As for Bush's bailout bill, Republicans don't have the balls to kill it, the way their constituents want them to, so instead rail against it while assuring Bush they will vote for it. Fake lions like Cantor and Paul Ryan-- who said it "sucks"-- have promised to go along with Bush, as they always do. Boehner called it a "crap sandwich," but has been twisting arms-- or offering bribes-- behind the scenes to get GOP members to vote for it. All smoke and no fire. In fact, according to today's CongressDaily Boehner turned to his buddies on K Street to beat up Republicans on the bill. Huge GOP donors like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and the Financial Services Roundtable all sent letters of support for the bill, implying that if they wanted continued donations they'd have to vote for the bailout.
Senate Budget ranking member Judd Gregg made a pitch for the plan Sunday afternoon, saying that if Congress didn't act, the consequences would something "we don't even want to think about."

"If we don't pass this, we shouldn't be here in Congress," said Gregg, who contends the federal government could make money on the program as the assets increase in value once the real estate market rebounds.

The early procedural voting this morning showed which Democrats would be voting with the right-wingers: mostly the regular suspects-- Don Cazayoux (LA), Nick Lampson (TX), Gene Taylor (MS), Baron Hill (IN), Chris Carney (PA), Travis Childers (MS), Harry Mitchell (AZ), Mike McIntyre (NC)... and a handful of principled liberals (Bob Filner (D-CA), Pete DeFazio, Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Jesse Jackson (IL). DeFazio explained his opposition: "I have seen this game before; NAFTA, Bill Clinton, it was going down until he came up with phony side agreements on labor and the environment. A whole bunch of members hid behind that, even though they knew it was phony. They've come up with a phony 'pay-for' here. That's meaningless, but they're going to try and get a bunch of Blue Dogs to hide behind that, and get the New Dems to go along ... They're just trying to get a slightly over a majority of the Caucus..."

So far they haven't. The bailout lost and Boehner and Emanuel are twisting arms to get stitches. I hope it Robin hayes changes his vote we get to watch him weeping on the floor of the House like we did when he bent to DeLay's threats and switched his vote to pass CAFTA. So do the leadership teams resign now? How about Paulson? Will he resign? Commit hari kari?


UPDATES

They need 10 members to change their votes.
Nope; someone changed from Yes to No and now they need 11 votes again.
But they've moved on to other business and will bring this up again.
How hated and mistrusted is George Bush-- both by Congress and the public?
And what about all that bragging all weekend by McCain about how he whipped the House Republicans into shape and saved the day? He better suspend his campaign again or get on the phone with some of his supporters.

The final vote was 228 No and 205 Yes. 140 Democrats voted Yes and 95 Democrats voted No. Boehner only delivered 65 Republicans. 133 Republicans voted No. Boehner and his team, making the most viciously partisan speeches I've ever heard in Congress, are blaming Pelosi... for giving a "partisan speech." What an ass clown. I guess they were mad that she hurt their feelings. Did he eat another shit sandwich? As my friend Pach said, this was another clear example of Republicans putting their country club first.

Among the Blue America candidates:

Tom Allen- yes
Steve Cohen- yes
John Hall- yes
Jerrold Nadler- yes

Donna Edwards- no
Carol Shea-Porter- no
Hilda Solis- no

Republicans being opposed by Blue America candidates

Mean Jean Schmidt- no
Mike Pence- no
Charlie Dent- no
Scott Garrett- no
Virgil Goode- no
Ric Keller- no
Robin Hayes- no
Randy Kuhl- no
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen- no
Mario Diaz-Balart- no
Michael McCaul- no
Dave Reichert- no (He had no choice with Darcy Burner breathing down his neck)
Dana Rohrabacher- no
Tim Walberg- no
Joe Knollenberg- no

David Dreier- yes
Frank Wolf- yes
Chris Shays- yes

Hilda Solis, one of the few incumbents Blue America raises money for explained why she voted no today:

“Today, I voted against H.R. 3997, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA), compromise legislation to bailout financial institutions saddled with large debts. I am very concerned about the credit crisis created by the housing market meltdown and while I appreciate efforts of the Democratic leadership to work in a bipartisan fashion to improve the Bush Administration’s proposal, this legislation lacks needed taxpayer protections and assistance for Main Street families like those in the Congressional District I represent.

“I cannot in good conscience, vote for legislation that gives $700 billion to the same firms that helped cause the current financial crisis through irresponsible lending without providing meaningful help for homeowners who are in danger of foreclosure. In the 32nd Congressional District, housing foreclosures have nearly tripled in the past few months, with over 2,300 homeowners currently going through the foreclosure process. The impact of such widespread foreclosures on our local economy and community is devastating.

“Unfortunately, this legislation will not help the families who are stretching paychecks and trying to hold onto jobs without additional steps to stabilize our housing market. It lacks needed reform of bankruptcy laws to allow consumers to renegotiate the terms of their mortgage in bankruptcy courts to help keep their homes. Homeowners on Main Streets should have the same rights to renegotiate their loans, especially those for their primary residence, as Wall Street.

“Without addressing bankruptcy, provisions in the bill aimed at stemming foreclosures are not enough to provide real relief to struggling homeowners. While the Bush Administration is working with congressional leaders to fast-track this legislation, they are indifferent to the Main Street economic stimulus bill passed last week by the House which I strongly supported.

“I was proud to vote for the Main Street economic stimulus bill, which would have extended unemployment benefits for the growing number of Americans looking for work. In the 32nd Congressional District, unemployment has risen above 10 percent in many communities. The bill also would have helped to sustain the safety net of services for our country’s neediest families by providing additional Food Stamp and Medicaid assistance. It is incredibly disappointing that in the face of skyrocketing unemployment and increased need for food and healthcare assistance, the Bush Administration is instead prioritizing a huge cash infusion for Wall Street instead of needed investments for our country’s working families.

“In these difficult economic times, we must come together as a community and help each other. I have already hosted foreclosure seminars in my district and my constituents were able to take advantage of important information about the impacts of the current mortgage crisis and the importance of financial literacy in foreclosure prevention. I plan to hold additional housing seminars so that our community has access to the resources they need to save their homes. As this economic crisis continues to unfold, please be assured that I will continue working in Congress to obtain the real relief that our community greatly needs.

“Congress and the Administration need to focus on real regulatory reform on Wall Street and real help for homeowners who face foreclosure. We must enact bankruptcy court protections for foreclosures on primary residences. We must pass comprehensive financial sector reform to restore integrity and stability to our financial system. We must address the root of this financial crisis in order to prevent future problems. And we must grow jobs by investing in our nation’s infrastructure and funding green collar jobs training.

“These are the actions that Congress must take to produce widespread and meaningful reform in our financial sector, provide a lifeboat for the thousands of families facing foreclosure, and provide economic security for families across our nation.”


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16 Comments:

At 1:11 PM, Anonymous teach said...

Yes, the people first. I think the Dems rolled over again by buying into the 700 B figure and not forcing time to be taken for solutions. I am glad this failed come what may. Real change comes from a crisis like this. People do not like this rush to "fix" this at their expense.

I am glad that 95 of them voted against it. Take more time. Do what helps. Let's go with Trickle UP!!!!!

 
At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Megaman_X said...

This is by far the most divisive vote I have ever seen. It is so bizarre to see far right Republicans, fake moderates, Blue Dogs, and progressive Democrats splitting so evenly in favor and against the bill. Never thought I'd see Paul Broun voting with Donna Edwards against Pelosi and Boehner.

Somehow, this bill failed. Who do we have to thank? A small force of progressives like Dennis Kucinich and Mazie Hirono, some reactionary fake Dems like Nick Lampson and Heath Shuler, endangered Republicans like the Diaz-Balart brothers, and even bottom-of-the-barrel lunatics like Dana Rohrabacher and Marsha Blackburn. Unbelievable.

 
At 4:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melissa Bean is getting facetime. She voted "yes".

http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2008/09/illinois_delegation_divided_on.html

John Olsen

 
At 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try this link instead. It is from Lynn Sweet's, Chicago Sun-Times blog.

http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2008/09/illinois_delegation_divided_on.html

John O.

 
At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not know why the part of the address is not showing in the final post, it is showing in the comment box. Add on

illinois_delegation_divided_on.html

after 09/

 
At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I honestly can't believe this. Another example of the american public being extremely stupid. So the calls were coming into the representatives offices at a 100 to 1 to kill the bailout. I mean nobody wants to bail out wall street, but we have to eat this turd sandwich. Anybody remember what caused the great depression? A market crash on Wall street. Americans are the dumbest people on the planet. Everything in this economy is connected. If wall street goes down further, then we will see MORE foreclosures on main street. "We the people" need to get a frickin clue. Aaaah! I honestly can't believe how short sighted we have become. Jesus christ.

 
At 6:23 PM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

I think John Hall and Steve Cohen should get a pass on this. I wouldn't put it past Hoyer to ask Cohen to vote for the bill, in exchange for there being no more Nikki Tinkers. I don't like the bill but something has to be done. I wouldn't put it past Wall Street to sink the market until a bill is passed. Did you see CNBC today? Maria Bartiromo was just shaking with rage that the bill wasn't passed. If she is acting that way, it means Wall Street will inflict damage till it gets what it wants. Ian over at FDL is right, there is a high chance of getting blackmailed into doing what Hank wants, not what is right.

 
At 6:26 PM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

Anonymous 5:06,
Who says we won't see more foreclosures anyway? The Dem leadership shouldn't try to keep playing football with Lucy. Craft a good bill. One the Democrats as a whole can get behind and dare Commander Codpiece to veto it. People already blame the Republicans for this mess. Use that as an opportunity.

 
At 6:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the wonderful leadership in DC votes the bailout bill down, saving Americans from spending 700 billion dollars......which caused Americans to lose ONE TRILLION dollars on the stock market in the same day.

Now that's great leadership in my book. No wonder we have no faith in anyone in DC.

Retiring at 85 now I guess.

 
At 8:31 PM, Anonymous teach said...

You were going to be able to retire?

 
At 12:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

YAY! America still has some backbone! Thank God! The avergae American who actually takes the time to read and understand this ridiculous resolution would NEVER agree to it and congress didn't. THAT'S THE WAY IT'S SUPPOSED TO WORK! If you have not read the draft, do not be mislead by headlines...this bailout is a VERY VERY BAD THING for America. See for yourself by taking the time to read the doc...you can find it online in .pdf format, it is 106 pages but worth the read because it exposes the people who drafted it for the crooks they are. Shameless, unscrupulous, bullying crooks. Call your congressman, congratulate and encourage those who voted against this bailout package. Chastise those who voted for it! ANYONE who voted for this either doesn't understand it or ought to be ashamed of themselves for how they plan to benefit personally from it. Long live America! Land of the free! Home of the brave!

 
At 4:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to the NYTimes, Business Day section, "Seeking to Find the Best Tools to Calm a Volatile Predicament" the Fed and Treasury have already provided $710 billion in bail-out monies to banks, money markets, and institutions like AIG. (I strongly recommend the article.) Giving the Bush administration the gift of another $700 billion to do whatever is crazy.

My congressman John Hall should vote "no" the next time around.

 
At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now, let's see if the Democrats can follow up with real progressive proposals that leave Republicans eating dust. If they don't, this will be a waste. It doesn't look good. All I'm reading in the MSM are Republican talking points, even though they are the real losers. The Pelosi "failure of leadership" and her "partisanship" are all over the MSM, with nothing on the Republican meltdown. Of course, her "failure of leadership" is very real: She is on the wrong f***in' side!

There are progressive folks who know DC and they have real proposals, for helping in both the short and long term, available right now. See:

Center for Economic and Policy Research:
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/op-eds-&-columns/op-eds-&-columns/progressive-conditions-for-a-bailout/

SEIU:
http://blogs.seiu.org/blogs/2008/09/26/take-a-deep-breath-our-economic-recovery-plan/

Prof. James K. Galbraith:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/24/AR2008092403033.html

And I'm sure there's more. There's no reason even to talk to the Republicans. No reason to negotiate. After that initial insulting lying bad faith treasury-looting, Constitution-trashing Paulson "proposal" they should never have been allowed back into Congress. You can't negotiate with people who are only waiting to screw you over, you can only fight them.

 
At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

per my last post--"they" in the last paragraph being the Bush administration. House Republicans have to be let in of course (they shouldn't act like Republicans, canceling meetings if the oppo party is present)--but Democrats should *set the agenda*, they have the majority, after all. And progressive Democrats can be the real leaders now. Do they recognize that? Can they handle it? Or are they so beaten down and lacking in confidence that like the current leadership [sic] they compromise everything away before the fight even starts?

 
At 6:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are such a polarized jackhole. Obviously this Bail Out is BS, but come on blaming it on the stupid Republicans when most of the Republican clowns voted against it and mst of your Democratic Croneys voted for it.

Why dont you criticize the Democrats for voting for this like the stupid fools they are. Both major parties are ridiculous thinking they are priviliged to determine how 20% of the GDP is spent every year.

Just tell them all to get the FRICK out of our wallets and limit your job to the Constitution you Interstate Commerce and the Common Defense and stop FUCKIN with the Free Market. This is America you actually its not against the law to become Rich or Poor.

These motherfuckers fucked up so its their turn to be Poor. Fuck-Em. And thats the issue. Anybody who wants to compromise off anything other then FUCKEM is full of shit.

 
At 8:01 PM, Blogger Samuel said...

Contrary to the claim of cataclysm that a certain alarmist here is pushing, the sky is not falling!

This Bush Ruse is the same tactic that landed us in an ill-advised war. Lets hope that cooler heads prevail, and we DO NOT rush into this Briar Patch.

WHY IN THE NAME OF HEAVEN should WE get stuck with these so-called "toxic assets"? If "liquidity" is the problem, the Federal Government can just as easily LOAN cash to the firms that own these toxic turkeys, and the firms and executives that bought-in to the speculation can CONTINUE TO OWN the crap, and CONTINUE TO OWE Uncle Sam for the money they are lent.

If "a great worry" is that Main Street won't be able to get mortgage money, Uncle CAN ISSUE MORTGAGES directly to credit-worthy citizens, just like the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) did during the New Deal.

Why is everyone in government so concerned about extending DIRECT relief (on "give-away" terms)and literally no interest at all to DIRECT relief to the citizenry (on reasonable repayment terms)?

Could it possibly be related to where our politicians find the big donors?????

 

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