Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Senate Passes Sweetened $700B Bailout. Will Udall & Pearce Reconsider Earlier Votes?

Tom Udall, Photo by MG Bralley
A bailout for the financial industry has cleared the Senate. Now its backers, including Pete Domenici, hope Representatives, including Tom Udall and Steve Pearce, get it passed in the House by Friday.

770KKOB News Director Pat Allen talked to Rep. Tom Udall ahead of the Senate vote. Udalls says there has to be protection for taxpayers and he'll vote for a measure that fixes the root causes of the economic crisis including more upping FDIC insurance to $250,000 for each bank account.

After the bill passed, U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman released this statement:
My decision to vote for this plan is not to say that it represents what I see as the ideal solution. In particular, we should be doing more for Americans who are struggling to keep their homes.

We cannot afford to sit by idly and let this economic crisis take a further toll on the economy. But we also must be realistic about the limitations of this legislation: It is a band-aid intended to stop the bleeding. It will not address the inadequate regulatory framework that enabled this crisis, and Congress must commit to enacting comprehensive reforms that will ensure we never again find ourselves in such a precarious position.

Before the vote, Domenici’s office announced his mental health parity legislation had been added to the bailout bill.

It “was a decision made by the leadership, in consultation with other senators,” Domenici spokesman Chris Gallegos said, adding that, “Domenici supports the Senate package to be voted on today.”

Gallegos said the adding of the mental health legislation doesn’t mean a lot of extras are being slipped into the financial bailout bill. He said the legislation that will be voted on tonight includes the economic bailout proposal, a range of tax relief proposals and the mental health parity legislation.

In the final vote, 40 Democrats, 33 Republicans and independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut voted "yes." Nine Democrats, 15 Republicans and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont voted "no." Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama cast "aye" votes.

The rescue package would allow the government to spend billions of dollars to buy bad mortgage-related securities and other devalued assets held by troubled financial institutions.

The legislation has extra tax breaks and other sweeteners for holdouts in the House. Even as the Senate voted, House leaders were hunting for the 12 votes they would need to turn around Monday's defeat.

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