I was eating my lunch this afternoon when I saw something that surprised me. The $700 billion bailout package moving through congress was defeated by the house today. I can’t say I think the bailout package is a great idea, but I am surprised that it didn’t pass:
The House on Monday defeated a $700 billion emergency rescue package, ignoring urgent pleas from President Bush and bipartisan congressional leaders to quickly bail out the staggering financial industry.
Stocks plummeted on Wall Street even before the 228-205 vote to reject the bill was announced on the House floor.
Sounds like most folks in congress think that we need to pass the bailout package, but no one wants to be the one to vote for the unpopular plan. It’s an election year, and with phone calls and emails against the package streaming into the capital’s switchboards, nobody wants to have a “yes” vote for this package on their resume.
Bush and his economic advisers, as well as congressional leaders in both parties had argued the plan was vital to insulating ordinary Americans from the effects of Wall Street’s bad bets. The version that was up for vote Monday was the product of marathon closed-door negotiations on Capitol Hill over the weekend.
“We’re all worried about losing our jobs,” Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., declared in an impassioned speech in support of the bill before the vote. “Most of us say, ‘I want this thing to pass, but I want you to vote for it — not me.’ ”
With their dire warnings of impending economic doom and their sweeping request for unprecedented sums of money and authority to bail out cash-starved financial firms, Bush and his economic chiefs have focused the attention of world markets on Congress, Ryan added.
“We’re in this moment, and if we fail to do the right thing, Heaven help us,” he said.
Heaven help us indeed.