Senator Bond says he’s really disappointed in the United States House’s rejection of a a compromise $700 billion plan to shore up the nation’s finances. Despite pleas from both Democratic and Republicans leaders, members defeated the measure 205-to-228. The fate of the package first proposed by the Bush Administration remains uncertain.
Bond says he understands Americans are outraged by the prospect of using taxpayer dollars to fix problems they blame out Wall Street, but Bond says Congress must act to protect Main Street from the financial sector crisis. Bond forecasts dire consequences should Congress fail to act. He says workers will be in danger of missing paychecks, family savings and retirement accounts will be placed in jeopardy, small business could fail and farmers will not be able to access the credit they need to operate.
Negotiators trudge back to talks with members of the Bush Administration in an attempt to pick up the pieces. Today, the House will not meet in observance of the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah. Supporters had hoped to have a package to the Senate by tomorrow.
It has been difficult to persuade enough members of Congress that the plan is needed. Leadership on both sides urged passage, but couldn’t get the numbers needed. In the end, 65 Republicans joined 140 Democrats to vote in favor of the measure, while 95 Democrats joined 133 Republicans to defeat it. Missouri reflects the difficulties. Two Democrats and two Republicans voted for the bill; Democrats Russ Carnahan of St. Louis and Ike Skelton of Lexington as well as Republicans Roy Blunt of Springfield and Jo Ann Emerson of Cape Girardeau. Two Democrats in the Missouri delegation, Lacy Clay of St. Louis and Emanuel Cleaver II of Kansas City, and three Republicans, Todd Akin of St. Louis, Sam Graves of Tarkio and Kenny Hulshof of Columbia, voted against the measure.
House Republicans raised objections to the initial plan submitted by the Bush Administration by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson sent Blunt into the negotiations Friday. An earlier meeting at the White House reportedly devolved into a shouting match with Democrats accusing Republicans of upsetting the delicate balance of negotiations. Republicans criticized Democrats for keeping them out of negotiations.
The plan was intended to shore up the nation’s financial sector, rocked by bank failures that have nearly frozen the credit markets. Normal lending transactions have been held up. Even strong financial institutions have become skittish.
The bill sought to inject $250 billion into the financial sector immediately. Congress would be consulted before the remainder would be released. The money would have been used to remove troubled assets from the books of financial institutions, mostly mortgage-back securities that have lost considerable value with the collapse of the housing market.
Democrats won concessions on executive pay, eliminating the possibility of executives leaving companies that participate with so-called golden parachutes. Republicans won concessions that they claim will lessen the burden on taxpayers and force Wall Street to share in the cost of recovery, such as issuing warrants that would allow any windfall coming to companies to be shared with the government. A parallel insurance program would also be created.
The compromise had the backing of President Bush, who acknowledged it presents lawmakers with "a difficult vote" just a month outside the November elections.