Thursday, October 2, 2008

Senate Passes Bailout: Feingold - No, Kohl - Yes

The Senate passed a bailout plan last night.

After one spectacular failure, the $700 billion financial industry bailout found a second life Wednesday, winning lopsided passage in the Senate and gaining ground in the House, where Republicans opposition softened.

Senators loaded the economic rescue bill with tax breaks and other sweeteners before passing it by a wide margin, 74-25, a month before the presidential and congressional elections.

...[B]oth parties' presidential candidates, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, made rare appearances to cast "aye" votes.

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."

The rescue package lets the government spend billions of dollars to buy bad mortgage-related securities and other devalued assets held by troubled financial institutions. If successful, advocates say, that would allow frozen credit to begin flowing again and prevent a deep recession.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold opposed the plan. Feingold, one of nine Democratic senators who voted against the plan, declined requests for an interview, but he released a statement in which he called the plan "deeply flawed."

He said, "Taxpayers deserve a plan that puts their concerns ahead of those who got us into this mess."

But Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl argued that Congress must act to stave off a collapse of the country's financial system: "Voting 'no' is just, to me, not acceptable. The risk to the average person is too great."

Here's Feingold's statement:
“I will oppose the Wall Street bailout plan because though well intentioned, and certainly much improved over the administration’s original proposal, it remains deeply flawed. It fails to offset the cost of the plan, leaving taxpayers to bear the burden of serious lapses of judgment by private financial institutions, their regulators, and the enablers in Washington who paved the way for this catastrophe by removing the safeguards that had protected consumers and the economy since the great depression. The bailout legislation also fails to reform the flawed regulatory structure that permitted this crisis to arise in the first place. And it doesn’t do enough to address the root cause of the credit market collapse, namely the housing crisis. Taxpayers deserve a plan that puts their concerns ahead of those who got us into this mess.”

So the Wisconsin senators split on the bill. Feingold doesn't approve of sticking the taxpayers with the cost of cleaning up the mess created by others. Kohl thinks it's necessary for taxpayers to fund a bailout.

I don't know how lawmakers can be packing the legislation with "sweetners" at this time of alleged potential economic catastrophe.

What is that? Yes, it's politics; but it's also indicative of a lack of integrity and a failure to put country first. It's a game.

Some of the sweetners:

The Senate specializes in high-stakes legislating-by-enticement, and the long list of sweeteners it added was designed to attract votes from various constituencies.

Tax cuts new and old are favorites for most House Republicans, the main target of intense lobbying to gain support for the measure. Help for rural schools was aimed mainly at lawmakers in the West, while disaster aid was a top priority for lawmakers from across the Midwest and South.

Another addition, to extend the deductibility of state and local taxes for people in states without income taxes, helps Florida and Texas, among others.

And there were plenty of obscure tax breaks to go around, like one for certain wooden arrows used by children, and another benefiting litigants in the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Senate leaders were expected to try adding another goodie before the final vote: extending a tax break for homeowners who do not itemize their tax returns.

...Other provisions added by the Senate include a measure to require large companies' health plans to give equal treatment to mental health or addiction if they cover such illnesses.

Yeah, thank God they got that tax break for certain wooden arrows used by children and the tax break benefiting litigants in the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill into the legislation.

Isn't it reassuring to know that the Senate is rising to the occasion and doing what's in the country's best interest at this time of crisis?

I guess a $700 billion bailout plan is hard to swallow without those sweetners.

Let the economy crumble, plunging the nation into a 2nd Great Depression, and vote against the bill, UNLESS there's a tax break for children's wooden arrows.

From another prespective, refuse to vote to stick it to the taxpayers and give in to this fake crisis, UNLESS there's a tax break for the litigants in the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.


More on the sweetners:

Add about $120 billion over five years in sweeteners the Senate is attaching to the $700 billion price tag of the bailout plan that the House voted down Monday.

The "no" voters of Monday are under tremendous pressure to just say "yes" now. The combined leadership of both parties in Congress is united behind the plan, President Bush is making calls, interest groups are pressing in and careful track is being kept of everyone's political pulse.

"Leaning yes — NEEDS MORE CALLS," a trade association list says of one Tennessee Republican, Zach Wamp. Of another, Marsha Blackburn, the list says: "(Undecided), but positive. Sales tax impt."

That's a reference to a provision added by the Senate that would allow taxpayers to deduct state and local sales taxes, an enormously popular idea in Tennessee, Texas, Florida and a few other states. "This is moving in the right direction," Blackburn said.

And there's more, much more.

For Western GOP lawmakers, there's help for rural counties, a huge issue for lawmakers like Doc Hastings, R-Wash. And Republicans are excited about new accounting rules to ease bank liquidity and plans to boost deposit insurance coverage.

The assorted add-ons, mostly tax measures, include energy-related provisions, business tax breaks, a one-year fix of the alternative minimum tax and tax relief for victims of recent disasters.

A whopping $120 BILLION of sweetness was tacked on to the $700 billion bailout.



Anonymous said...

Nice that it was your party adding in all of these so called sweeteners

Mary said...

I'm an Independent.

I don't belong to any political party.

Anonymous said...

the day you vote for a democrat, is the day pigs fly out my ass.

Mary said...

I vote for Democrats all the time.

I voted for Hillary in the presidential primary.