Archive for September 29th, 2008

In a stunning rebellion by rank and file members, the House of Representatives defied their party leaders Monday afternoon to reject President Bush’s colossal sweeping bailout of Wall Street.

“This is a huge cow patty with a piece of marshmallow stuck in the middle and I’m not going to eat that cow patty,” declared Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) (Our emphasis.)

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 600 points, before rebounding slightly.

The measure went down 205 to 228 but party leaders were keeping the vote open to try to change enough minds to reverse the result.

The stunning vote came after three emotional hours of debate over the most sweeping government interference in the free market since President Franklin Roosevelt rewrote the American economy in the 1930s.

The bill, presented by Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson as a vital measure to save an economy heading for serious recession, was backed by Democratic and Republican leaders of both houses, as well as presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain.

As the debate began, Bush told lawmakers, “This is a bold bill that will keep the crisis in our financial system from spreading through our economy.”

Behind the scenes, administration officials were twisting arms, warning direly of financial crisis on Main Street if Wall Street doesn’t get help.

To win enough votes from rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans, party leaders said there was no choice but to vote for the bailout or see ordinary Americans lose their jobs and homes.

“The meltdown would begin, it is true, in a few square miles of downtown Manhattan. But before it was over, no small town in America would be untouched,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the Majority Leader.

But dozens of congressmen defied their leaders to vote against a bill that no one said they liked. (Our emphasis.)

Broun questioned why more government money should be thrown after the $200 billion given to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the $85 billion used to save AIG and $30 to save Bear Stearns.

“This is the same old story. We’re just going further down the road,” he said.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) warned America was on a “slippery slope toward socialism.”

Illustrating the urgency of the matter, Wachovia sold itself to Citigroup this morning, another huge bank failure that means most of America’s deposits are now in the hands of just three banks: Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America.

In the last two weeks, Wall Street titans have fallen like dominos, from Lehman Brothers to Merrill Lynch to AIG to Washington Mutual.

The credit crisis was spreading across the world yesterday.
In London, regulators swooped in with a $280 billion seizure of mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley, sending UK stocks to a three-year low.

The sprawling Belgian-Dutch financial group Fortis also needed a bailout from Benelux

Washington’s big bailout aims to unfreeze short-term lending between banks and corporations by buying up the widespread housing-related bad debts that are paralyzing financial companies.

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$700,000,000,000 to save the butts of people who intentionally cheated for profit – and a bill to provide long-term health care to 9/11 First Responders who are ill. These people tried to SAVE LIVES and are dying as a result. Priorities need to be reassessed.

BY OREN YANIV
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Congress Sunday shelved a $10.9 billion bill to provide health care and compensation for Ground Zero workers, at least in part due to opposition from Mayor Bloomberg.

The House of Representatives failed to vote on the bill after City Hall objected to a provision that would have required the city to pay 10% of the cost of a long-term Sept. 11 health program.

The total cost would have been $5.1 billion for a 10-year program that would have provided health care to those sick from working amid toxic World Trade Center debris. The city’s share was to be $500 million.

The bill also would have reopened the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund, adding an estimated $6 billion for those who became sick after working amid the debris.

John Feal, a 9/11 responder and founder of the FealGood Foundation, went to Washington in a failed push for the bill.

“The mayor pretty much squashed the bill on us,” a disappointed Feal said last night. “We should do right by these people who are sick and dying.”

Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan), Vito Fossella (R-S.I.) and Pete King (R-L.I.) said the New York delegation would reintroduce another bipartisan bill next year.

“We will work together to meet the sizable need to care for those who lived and worked in the immediate area around Ground Zero – not to mention those who helped in the immediate aftermath,” the lawmakers said in a statement.

Supporters had hoped the House would vote on the package over the weekend, but time and support ran out amid intense congressional negotiations over the $700 billion financial bailout package.

The Senate would likely not have had time to pass the bill anyway, but backers said House passage would have helped move the measure forward.

Bloomberg spokesman Jason Post said the Sept. 11 health bill was “a step backward” and said “it put an undue burden on city taxpayers.” He noted the bill would raise fivefold the city’s annual tab for 9/11 programs.

Other city officials said the feds should pay the full cost as a matter of principle because Sept. 11 was an attack on America.

Denis Hughes, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, countered that the bill was doomed by “shortsighted” thinking at City Hall.

“What really sunk this was the mayor’s opposition,” Hughes said. “I think they miscalculated.”

Do YOU have time to read the Bill that will change the financial landscape? Here it is.