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September 29, 2008 10:23 AM

Burner opposes bailout package; Reichert votes against it

Posted by Emily Heffter

Eighth Congressional District candidate Darcy Burner said this morning that if she were in Congress, she would have voted against a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry that the House of Representatives is considering this morning.

"We need to do something," she said. But she said the compromise package being pushed by Democratic leaders in Congress doesn't go far enough to protect taxpayers.

Burner said it doesn't fix the underlying problems that caused the financial crisis, namely too much deregulation of the financial industry. And she said it doesn't do enough to limit executive pay.
Burner's opposition marks one of the first times she has come out against the House Democratic leadership, especially House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is championing the bailout package and has supported Burner's congressional bid.

Burner's opponent, Republican Dave Reichert, wouldn't say how he planned to vote prior to the roll call.

UPDATE: Reichert voted against the package, according to his press secretary, Abigail Shilling. I'm hoping to get more details soon.

UPDATE: Here's how Washington's congressional delegation voted, according to C-SPAN.

In favor:
Brian Baird, D-Vancouver
Norm Dicks, D-Bremerton
Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens
Jim McDermott, D-Seattle
Adam Smith, D-Tacoma

Doc Hastings, R-Pasco
Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island
Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane
Dave Reichert, R-Auburn

UPDATE: Here's the statement from Congressman Jay Inslee's office about his vote on the bailout package:

Today, U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) voted against the $700 billion bailout package for troubled American financial markets in what he called "a vote of conscience."

"The initial plan by Secretary Paulson was completely unacceptable, but the revised package was not much better," said Inslee. "For all the talk of protecting the taxpayer, there were only limited promises that the taxpayers' $700 billion investment would be paid back and there were no provisions to help struggling homeowners."

"If we authorize $700 billion in a bailout for Wall Street, we must ensure - and not just hope - that all the money gets paid back to the American taxpayer. The plan we were presented with did not do that. Also, I saw no real provisions in the revised plan to help stem the real cause of the crisis, which is the collapse in our housing markets. We needed a pro-growth bill to stimulate the economy, and that was not what we got."

"But now is the time for Congress to come together again and vote on a real, comprehensive plan that will solve the crisis while still protecting the taxpayers and restarting our economic growth. I am prepared to stay here and in session as long as it takes, and I know many of my colleagues in Congress feel the same."

"The American people deserve better. I could not, with good conscience, vote for the bill presented to me."

UPDATE: Here's the statement from Congressman Doc Hastings' office about his vote on the bailout package:

The House of Representatives today voted on a $700 billion economic bailout plan. The final vote was 205 to 228. Congressman Doc Hastings voted against the bill.

"I judged this bill on two primary grounds: what could the cost be to the taxpayers and is it good policy for the federal government to seize the financial markets in this way.

The final bill provides more taxpayer protections than the first proposal, yet it still potentially leaves taxpayers holding the $700 billion bag for the reckless actions of Wall Street and that is something I cannot support.

And on the question of increased government intervention in the marketplace, I am just plain opposed to such a massive intrusion into the economy and the marketplace.

As to the crisis about which we are warned, I hope it can be abated, though I do believe additional steps can be taken to allow for the infusion of new capital, instead of focusing solely on preventing a freeze of existing capital. I also believe an insurance-centered approach would allow for relief in a way that places the responsibility for paying on Wall Street and those being bailed out."

UPDATE: Here's the statement from Congressman Dave Reichert's office about his vote on the bailout:

Congressman Dave Reichert (WA-08) today voted to protect taxpayers by opposing the authorization of $700 billion to buy troubled assets. The House rejected the measure by a vote of 205-228. "Undeniably, action is necessary to address the crisis in our financial markets and ensure that credit remains available for middle class families to buy homes and put their children through college. That's evident by the daily fluctuations in the market. I'm hopeful that Congress will soon consider a modified version of the bill that was rejected today that will stabilize markets, utilize more private capital, and bring new oversight, reform, and accountability while protecting taxpayers.

"It's more important to get this legislation right than to act in haste. Panic on Wall Street brought us to this point, and we cannot let panic in Congress push through a remedy that is worse than the illness. Instead of a $700 billion blank check, we need a comprehensive package that helps Wall Street recover with more private capital, not taxpayer dollars; that holds accountable the bad actors who contributed to this crisis; and that enforces existing laws while modernizing outdated ones.

"Congress has already approved $200 billion to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and $85 billion bailing out AIG; what assurance do we have that this $700 billion gamble isn't just another roll of the dice at taxpayer expense?"

Reichert was concerned that the package did not go far enough to curb executive compensation, did not contain appropriate oversight and enforcement, and did not require Wall Street to contribute what it should to the rescue. He was especially concerned that this proposal did not include any long-term planning for our fiscal future, particularly for how to fulfill our promise to provide benefits owed to our seniors like Medicare and Social Security.

Reichert spent the week gathering information, evaluating dozens of proposals, and carefully deliberating the package. He met with and solicited input from Republican and Democratic lawmakers, leading economists and financial experts, Treasury Secretary Paulson and senior Administration officials, members of his 8th District Economic Advisory Committee, and heard from thousands of constituents.

UPDATE: Here's a statement from Congressman Jim McDermott's office:

"Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Barney Frank are two people I trust immeasurably; they tried as hard as they could to put together H.R. 3997 to protect the American people, and in so doing they earned my support. This was a day for leaders to lead in the most difficult of circumstances and they - and I - accepted that responsibility.

"I voted in favor of H.R. 3997 because I know with certainty that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank put the American people first and negotiated a bill that would have taken a first step in restoring the faith and trust of the American people. Doing nothing sends a terrible signal.

"Over the last week I have received thousands of angry emails from constituents and I share their anger over eight years of failed economic policies by this Administration that undermined our system of regulatory oversight and checks and balances. But, as angry as people are, they also understand that we are in serious trouble and that something needs to be done, and I share that sentiment.

"The American people must understand that this economic calamity is the result of disastrous Republican economic policies, and today a majority of House Republicans voted against their president, their presidential nominee, their Republican leadership, their party and their country. They put ideology ahead of country.

"Finally, I cannot emphasize enough that today's vote is not a disaster. Democracy does not always take a straight line to a solution and we will find a path to a consensus."

UPDATE: Here's a statement from Congressman Adam Smith's office:

"Like many Americans, I had major concerns with the Bush Administration's initial financial recovery proposal. It contained no help for ordinary Americans struggling with their mortgage payments, no oversight and no protection for taxpayers. It was a major power grab attempt by the Administration in the form of a $700 billion blank check and Congress correctly rejected that plan. I also worried about the true extent of this economic crisis - would it just punish Wall Street people who acted unwisely? Or would it impact us all? And, if the latter was true was action by Congress required?

"After listening to many of my constituents, small business owners, local bankers, and many others in the business and financial world, I have concluded that this crisis is more serious than just the normal downside of the business cycle; that failure to act by Congress could turn a severe economic slow down into a panic -a run on banks and all financial institutions that could plunge us into a deep and lasting recession; and that the plan before Congress, while offering no guarantees, represented a prudent and necessary step to prevent this much more painful economic outcome.

"I now believe strongly that this crisis affects all Americans. If it only impacted the financial institutions on Wall Street who made outrageously risky investments then I would not have supported this plan. But the credit crunch and the economic slow down will hit us all. Loans for college, cars, homes, or any other consumer need will be almost impossible to obtain. As this reality spreads, businesses in all communities in our country will be forced to cut back, leading to significant job loss. The markets will go down also, placing in jeopardy pensions, 401K plans, and many other investments for all people in our country.

"I also want to make clear that significant economic hardship is coming no matter what we do. Our nation has lived on credit for far too long, from the federal government's growing debt right down to average households where we have been collectively spending more than we earned for years. The housing boom only made it worse, enticing people in all walks of life to take on even greater debt with the illusion that the ever rising value of homes would always cover that debt. Wall Street made all of this immeasurably worse with risky financial deals designed to maximize short term profit with no thought whatsoever to long term consequences. Now we all have to find a way to mitigate the damages and begin digging our way out of the mess.

"Over the past week, through bipartisan cooperation and thoughtful deliberation, Congress delivered a plan that addresses the drastic shortcomings of the Bush Administration's proposal and protects the interest of taxpayers. The revised plan helps to prevent home foreclosures crippling the American economy. It cuts the requested $700 billion in half and requires Congressional review for future payments. It has a profit-sharing provision that ensures tax payers benefit from the use of their money and requires in five years that the President put forth a plan to recoup the taxpayers' money from institutions that benefit.

"It ensures strong independent and Congressional oversight and transparency mechanisms throughout this process and imposes strict limitations on excessive compensation for CEOs and executives of participating financial institutions.

"This was not an easy vote and I do not believe for a second that this legislation will somehow solve all our economic problems. We must make major changes in how we regulate our financial institutions. We must also change our spending priorities in Congress and throughout our nation so that we build a fiscally sound economy - one that focuses on long-term sustainable growth, not just short-term profit.

"This bill was not a perfect solution and it is not exactly how I would have drafted it. However, I do believe that it would have helped reduce and reverse the negative trends in our economy today. Now that the bill has been defeated, I will continue to consider all views and options and work with my colleagues to build consensus for a solution that will protect Americans from more economic harm."

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Andrew Garber
Covers politics and state government from Olympia.

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Emily Heffter
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