11
   

What Happened in Washington Today

 
 
Foxfyre
 
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 07:45 pm
The Congress had to pass a financial bailout bill today. The Treasury Secretary, the Chair of the EOC, the President, Congressional Leaders, John McCain, and Barack Obama all wanted a rescue bill passed today to stave off certain collapse of the national and international financial structure. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker, and John A. Boehner, minority leader, announced that they had reached agreement and had the necessary votes and the bill would pass.

At the end of the day, the bill was defeated by 140 Democrats and 65 Republicans for (205) to 95 Democrats and 133 Republicans against (228) and the stock market took its heaviest one day loss in its entire history with an almost certain additional loss at the opening bell tomorrow.

So what happened?

After spending the past several hours listening and watching various talking heads on a wide range of radio and television networks recount the events of the day, this is what appears to have happened.

1. Nancy Pelosi prefaced the vote with a 20 to 30 minute rant excoriating in scathing terms the President and administration and the Republicans for creating the mess and attributed absolutely no blame or culpability whatsoever to any Democrat in any era. It was clear that the Democrats were setting themselves up as the saviors and rescuers of what the Republicans had wrought and that is the way it would be fed to the press. All semblance of bipartisan effort and agreement went out the window.

2. In a backroom deal, Pelosi had counted the votes and they had way more than they needed. So, knowing that the bill if passed was going to anger a great many people, she gave 40 Democrats in vulnerable seats permission to vote nay. Soon after the vote began that began showing up on the vote board in the House chamber. It wasn't just the Democrat rookies voting nay but committee chairs and others in leadership positions.

3. The Republicans, all of whom were pretty well committed to vote aye, saw those nay votes showing up on the board and knew they had been double crossed. The Democrats would go back to their home districts for the final 30 days of the campaign and magninimously claim they they didn't vote to spend $700 billion of the taxpayer's money but the Republicans did.

Coupled with Pelosi' unprecedented acid partisan screed and the double cross, the Republicans were no longer willing to stick their necks out and take the lumps for the country all by themselves. And they defected in droves.

And the bill went down in flames.

So, who do we blame? Republicans and Democrats who were unwilling to put their political future behind what was best for the country? Or a Speaker of the House who made it obvious that nobody was going to get credit for a partisan effort but the Democrats? Or did the Democrats and/or Republicans crash it on purpose hoping the other party would be blamed?

But the country lost more than $1 trillion in its life savings today and stands to take a similar hit tomorrow.

And Congress doesn't plan to reconvene until Thursday.

So what do we do now?



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Type: Discussion • Score: 11 • Views: 3,510 • Replies: 118

 
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 07:57 pm
@Foxfyre,
The "leadership" of McCain? He will have to work with both parties if he becomes president, but he can't seem to even influence his own party's politicians. Where's all that experience and leadership he always talks about. He's always saying "Obama doesn't understand....blah, blah, blah....," but fails to work with his own party. If he's unable to work with his own party members now, what makes you think the party members will work with him as president?

Another gamble?
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  4  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 08:34 pm
@Foxfyre,
Wow, that's quite a dazzling pirouette of an argument.

Actual vote:

http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?cht=bvg&chd=s:9Ap,cA5&chs=300x200&chco=0000cc,ff0000&chf=bg,s,ffffff&chtt=FINAL+VOTE+RESULTS+%7CFOR+ROLL+CALL+674&chdl=Democrats|Republicans&chl=Aye||Nay

This ^ is not going to change, regardless of how much you would like to lay the blame for the bill's failure to pass at the Democrats' feet.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  5  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 08:50 pm
@Foxfyre,
There's not even any internal consistency to your argument.

Under #1, you blame the Democrats for "setting themselves up as the saviors and rescuers" of the bill, and that's why Republicans couldnt vote yes, because they couldnt go along with that.

Then under #3, you blame the Democrats for setting themselves up to "magninimously claim" that they did not "vote to spend $700 billion of the taxpayer's money [while] the Republicans did" - and that's why Republicans couldnt vote yes, because they couldnt go along with that.

Doesnt make any sense.

Not to mention that in either framing of the argument, the Republicans are still admitted as putting concerns about how they might look ahead of the country's interest in the face of calamity. So much for "country first," I guess.

As for the rest, I dont even know where to begin. I mean, "The Republicans, all of whom were pretty well committed to vote aye"? Are you kidding me? You mean, aside from the scores of House Republicans who had vocally opposed the bill from the start? Aside from how House Republicans formed the core of Congressional resistance against the bill?

Or this: "the Republicans were no longer willing to stick their necks out and take the lumps for the country all by themselves". What's that even mean, this assertion that they'd end up taking the lumps "all by themselves", when a 60% majority of Democrats voted in favour of the bill?

*scratches head*
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 08:55 pm
@Foxfyre,
Foxfyre wrote:
3. The Republicans, all of whom were pretty well committed to vote aye, saw those nay votes showing up on the board and knew they had been double crossed. The Democrats would go back to their home districts for the final 30 days of the campaign and magninimously claim they they didn't vote to spend $700 billion of the taxpayer's money but the Republicans did.


They could have changed their votes at any time before it closed. Both parties let the bill die instead of coughing up the handful of needed votes.

Pelosi deserves her share of it for her partisanship, but your starry eyed version of the Republican's share of blame is silly. They too played politics instead of getting the bill passed. Nobody was "double crossed" they all had ample time to get the votes needed and neither side budged, preferring instead to play political games like yours about who is to blame.
Foxfyre
 
  3  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 09:13 pm
Okay, Nimh grandly proclaims what I claimed when I claimed nothing.
Robert comes in with a conclusion that I was 'starry eyed'.
I was very careful to not set myself up as judge and jury here.
The fact was both factions were prepared to deliver a majority of votes in favor of the bill when they agreed to bring the vote to the floor.

I do believe the game was set to win--the bill would prevail with both parties contributing enough votes to take it over the top.

I do believe that Pelosi then intentionally set the stage for the Democrats to get the credit for saving the nation from what the Republicans had wrought and dishonestly omitted the considerable culpability the Democrats had in creating the mess.

I do believe that Pelosi, thinking the Republicans were contributing enough votes to carry the day, gave her most vulerable people permission to vote 'nay'.

I do believe the Republicans were not willing to be the fall guys, take the blame, and forfeit their re-election hopes. They very much felt they were double crossed. So a large number who would have voted aye changed their votes to nay. (Remember that every one of those voting today will be re-elected or voted out of their offices in just five weeks time.)

I do believe both parties put politics ahead of what was the right thing to do.

Had both parties put partisanship aside and agreed to vote to pass the bill, I think they would have scored some points with the people, even those who are angry at this whole thing. I think the way it went, the people will hold Congress in even lower esteem than before.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 09:16 pm
@Foxfyre,
Fox, Do you intentionally create statements that are dumb and dumber, or is that a skill you learned at BS school?

"...dishonestly omitted the considerable culpability the Democrats had in creating the mess."

jezuz keriste! How do you guys keep a rational discussion going with Fox? Really.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 09:18 pm
@Foxfyre,
Quote:
1. Nancy Pelosi prefaced the vote with a 20 to 30 minute rant


Quote:

Rep. Pelosi’s Remarks on Floor Ahead of House Bailout Vote

Her remarks, as prepared for delivery, according to Rep. Pelosi’s office:

“Madam Speaker, when was the last time someone asked you for $700 billion?

It is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush Administration’s failed economic policies"policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system.

Democrats believe in the free market, which can and does create jobs, wealth, and capital, but left to its own devices it has created chaos.

That chaos is the dismal picture painted by Treasury Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke a week and a half ago in the Capitol.

As they pointed out, we confront a crisis of historic magnitude that has the ability to do serious injury not simply to our economy, but to the American people: not just to Wall Street, but to everyday Americans on Main Street.

It is our responsibility today, to help avert that catastrophic outcome.

Let us be clear: This is a crisis caused on Wall Street. But it is a crisis that reaches to Main Street in every city and town of the United States.

It is a crisis that freezes credit, causes families to lose their homes, cripples small businesses, and makes it harder to find jobs.

It is a crisis that never had to happen. It is now the duty of every Member of this body to recognize that the failure to act responsibly, with full protections for the American taxpayer, would compound the damage already done to the financial security of millions of American families.

Over the past several days, we have worked with our Republican colleagues to fashion an alternative to the original plan of the Bush Administration.

I must recognize the outstanding leadership provided by Chairman Barney Frank, whose enormous intellectual and strategic abilities have never before been so urgently needed, or so widely admired.

I also want to recognize Rahm Emanuel, who combined his deep knowledge of financial institutions with his pragmatic policy experience, to resolve key disagreements.

Secretary Paulson deserves credit for working day and night to help reach an agreement and for his flexibility in negotiating changes to his original proposal.

Democrats insisted that legislation responding to this crisis must protect the American people and Main Street from the meltdown on Wall Street.

The American people did not decide to dangerously weaken our regulatory and oversight policies. They did not make unwise and risky financial deals. They did not jeopardize the economic security of the nation. And they must not pay the cost of this emergency recovery and stabilization bill.

So we insisted that this bill contain several key provisions:

This legislation must contain independent and ongoing oversight to ensure that the recovery program is managed with full transparency and strict accountability.

The legislation must do everything possible to allow as many people to stay in their homes rather than face foreclosure.

The corporate CEOs whose companies will benefit from the public’s participation in this recovery must not benefit by exorbitant salaries and golden parachute retirement bonuses.

Our message to Wall Street is this: the party is over. The era of golden parachutes for high-flying Wall Street operators is over. No longer will the U.S. taxpayer bailout the recklessness of Wall Street.

The taxpayers who bear the risk in this recovery must share in the upside as the economy recovers.

And should this program not pay for itself, the financial institutions that benefited, not the taxpayers, must bear responsibility for making up the difference.

These were the Democratic demands to safeguard the American taxpayer, to help the economy recover, and to impose tough accountability as a central component of this recovery effort.

This legislation is not the end of congressional activity on this crisis. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will continue to hold investigative and oversight hearings to find out how the crisis developed, where mistakes were made, and how the recovery must be managed to protect the middle class and the American taxpayer.

With passage of this legislation today, we can begin the difficult job of turning our economy around, of helping those who depend on a growing economy and stable financial institutions for a secure retirement, for the education of their children, for jobs and small business credit.

Today we must act for those Americans, for Main Street, and we must act now, with the bipartisan spirit of cooperation which allowed us to fashion this legislation.

This not enough. We are also working to restore our nation’s economic strength by passing a new economic recovery stimulus package"a robust, job creating bill"that will help Americans struggling with high prices, get our economy back on track, and renew the American Dream.

Today, we will act to avert this crisis, but informed by our experience of the past eight years with the failed economic leadership that has left us left capable of meeting the challenges of the future.

We choose a different path. In the new year, with a new Congress and a new president, we will break free with a failed past and take America in a New Direction to a better future.”

http://thepage.time.com/rep-pelosis-remarks-on-floor-ahead-of-house-bailout-vote/



This took 20 to 30 minutes.
0 Replies
 
talk72000
 
  3  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 09:19 pm
@Robert Gentel,
If GWB had approached Congress before the credit crunch became a monster when Congress was not in a panic mood with their own seats up for grab and with more time there would have been a cordial partnership. Instead GWB had proposals all written up way ahead waiting till there was a panic situation to ram thru his Shock Doctrine, pay off his buddies in Wall Street and in the same breath increase Executive powers is a slimy bit of chicanery.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 09:20 pm
@talk72000,
talk, You're asking about 20/20 vision after the fact; how about identifying the underlying problems that created this mess?

Governance means taking due diligence to prevent this kind of crisis from occurring. Instead, they deregulated the banks and finance companies, then sat back while the bricks started falling off the walls. There were enough warning signs out there if they paid enough attention; it was their doing that created this mess with the greed of money managers who thought they were making a quick buck with our government's blessings.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 09:28 pm
@Foxfyre,
I don't know if this has already been posted, but take a look.
http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/09/swing-district-congressmen-doomed.html

Basically, if you are a congressman and your seat is being vigorously challenged, your odds of voting against this bill are higher than they would have been.

Of course, it's possible that Republicans are over-represented in that group. (The group of congressman with at-risk seats.)
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  3  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 09:37 pm
@Foxfyre,
Quote:
What Happened in Washington Today

It's very simple. Many members of congress don't have the guts to do what needs to be done because they know it's gonna costs them votes from their constituents.

Both parties tried to screw each other by switching votes at the last minute. You can give up trying to blame this on the democrats. There's plenty of blame to go around.

Robert Gentel
 
  4  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 09:39 pm
@Foxfyre,
Foxfyre wrote:
I do believe both parties put politics ahead of what was the right thing to do.


Yeah, but the starry-eyed part is where you think the Republicans were double crossed. This was never going to be a unanimous vote, and both sides had given the other side assurances that the party leaders would bring enough of their party in to pass it.

The Democrats brought theirs, the Republicans didn't. At that point either side could have coaxed more votes out, and neither did. When you try to portray it as a betrayal by Democrats and that the Republicans only voted that way because they saw some negative Democrat votes is self-serving nonsense. The Democrats brought 60% to the table, the Republicans brought 33%. If the Republicans brought only 39% to the table the bill would have passed. Portraying this as a Democrat double cross is nonsense.

Quote:
Had both parties put partisanship aside and agreed to vote to pass the bill, I think they would have scored some points with the people, even those who are angry at this whole thing. I think the way it went, the people will hold Congress in even lower esteem than before.


I agree, and this is why they should have voted with balls.

If they'd said that they know it sucks to have to do it but that they were doing what they thought was the best thing for the people they would have earned themselves more respect.

Nimh posted this elsewhere, and this guy had it right:

Quote:
The weirdest case in favor the bill came from Minority Leader John Boehner, who yesterday called the bill a "crap sandwich." "Nobody wants to vote for this," he yelled. "Nobody wants to be anywhere near it. ... You all know how awful it is. I didn't come here to vote for bills like this!" But, he went on, "I believe the risk in not acting is much higher. ... These are the votes that separate the men from the boys and the girls from the women. What's in the best interest of our country? Vote yes," he concluded and dashed away from the podium in tears.
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 09:42 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Voting for this bill is like throwing yourself on a live grenade (for congress people). What's really sad is that many of these icons of patriotism not only didn't do it, but told people they would, and then tried to sneak away. Disgusting.

0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 09:43 pm
@Robert Gentel,
RG, Congress has a way out of this urgent crisis by following your idea about putting cash in the hands of banks and finance companies immediately. That removes some of the urgency, and provides congress with some breathing room to continue their debate on the legislation. It seems this is quite simple to do from both houses of congress and the president's signature.
nimh
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 10:06 pm
@Foxfyre,
Foxfyre wrote:
So what happened? [..]

2. In a backroom deal, Pelosi had counted the votes and they had way more than they needed. So, knowing that the bill if passed was going to anger a great many people, she gave 40 Democrats in vulnerable seats permission to vote nay. Soon after the vote began that began showing up on the vote board in the House chamber. [..]

3. The Republicans, all of whom were pretty well committed to vote aye, saw those nay votes showing up on the board and knew they had been double crossed. [..] Coupled with Pelosi' unprecedented acid partisan screed and the double cross, the Republicans were no longer willing to stick their necks out and take the lumps for the country all by themselves. And they defected in droves.


Funny thing (not in a "ha ha" way) -- I was reading the "bailout" thread and came across this quote that Craven brought from the Atlantic about what happened. Funny because it's like a mirror image of your account.

Quote:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been promised that 80 or 90 Republicans would vote for the bill. That way, both parties could share responsibility. But in the end, just 66 Republican votes materialized.

According to my sources, once Pelosi learned of the double-cross, she told the Democratic whips to make it a conscience vote on the Democratic side as well. With the likelihood of voter indignation and the strong possibility that this bill would not fix what was broken, Pelosi was not prepared to make this primarily a Democratic bill. [..]

http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=what_now_08

You lot double-crossed us! No, your people double-crossed us!

I dont know whether the Atlantic's take is the correct one; maybe someone else does. Just that, going on both your account and this one, the "nay" voters are sure suddenly looking for excuses about why they voted against the bill -- and basically, the excuse seems to be that they just did it because they saw the other guys were doing it, and dammit, if the other side was double-crossing them they sure wouldnt be left with the thing!

Or: how voting out of pique overrided voting for the country's argued interest; and how this being the reason for their vote is actually raised as an excuse by those who did it!

Lord.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 10:15 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Quote:
News Analysis
In Bailout Vote, a Leadership Breakdown


By JACKIE CALMES
Published: September 29, 2008
WASHINGTON " The collapse of the proposed rescue plan for the teetering financial system was the product of a larger failure " of political leadership in Washington " at a moment when the world was looking to the United States to contain the cascading economic crisis.

From the White House to Congress to the presidential campaign trail, the principal players did not rally the votes they needed in the House. They appeared not to comprehend or address in a convincing way an intense strain of opposition to the deal among voters. They allowed partisan politics to flare at sensitive moments.


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/30/business/30assess.html?hp

the problem of course is that it will take longer and be more difficult to fix washington than it will be to fix Wall Street.
gungasnake
 
  -2  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 10:25 pm
@Foxfyre,
Thanks, that's at least logical....

Sounds like Piglosi snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by being too much of a pig.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 10:31 pm
@hawkeye10,
Again:
Quote:
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: September 29, 2008
In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt inherited an economic crisis. He understood that his first job was to restore confidence, to give people a sense that somebody was in charge, that something was going to be done.



This generation of political leaders is confronting a similar situation, and, so far, they have failed utterly and catastrophically to project any sense of authority, to give the world any reason to believe that this country is being governed. Instead, by rejecting the rescue package on Monday, they have made the psychological climate much worse.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/30/opinion/30brooks.html?hp
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 10:33 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

Foxfyre wrote:
I do believe both parties put politics ahead of what was the right thing to do.


Yeah, but the starry-eyed part is where you think the Republicans were double crossed. This was never going to be a unanimous vote, and both sides had given the other side assurances that the party leaders would bring enough of their party in to pass it.

The Democrats brought theirs, the Republicans didn't. At that point either side could have coaxed more votes out, and neither did. When you try to portray it as a betrayal by Democrats and that the Republicans only voted that way because they saw some negative Democrat votes is self-serving nonsense. The Democrats brought 60% to the table, the Republicans brought 33%. If the Republicans brought only 39% to the table the bill would have passed. Portraying this as a Democrat double cross is nonsense.

Quote:
Had both parties put partisanship aside and agreed to vote to pass the bill, I think they would have scored some points with the people, even those who are angry at this whole thing. I think the way it went, the people will hold Congress in even lower esteem than before.


I agree, and this is why they should have voted with balls.

If they'd said that they know it sucks to have to do it but that they were doing what they thought was the best thing for the people they would have earned themselves more respect.

Nimh posted this elsewhere, and this guy had it right:

Quote:
The weirdest case in favor the bill came from Minority Leader John Boehner, who yesterday called the bill a "crap sandwich." "Nobody wants to vote for this," he yelled. "Nobody wants to be anywhere near it. ... You all know how awful it is. I didn't come here to vote for bills like this!" But, he went on, "I believe the risk in not acting is much higher. ... These are the votes that separate the men from the boys and the girls from the women. What's in the best interest of our country? Vote yes," he concluded and dashed away from the podium in tears.



The double cross was in the Democrats who had previously been committed to vote for the bill being given permission--without knowledge of the Republicans--to vote nay. It was here that the double cross occurred. You had Pelosi grandstanding to ensure that the media would give the Democrats all the credit and continue to blame the Republicans, and you had the Republicans watching all the most vulnerable Democrats voting nay. It was just too much for even great Patriots to stomach.

Respect isn't much consolation when you hand the Democrats a greater majority in Congress for the next term and destroy your chances for re-election.

The only way to make this turkey fly straight was for Pelosi to assume a bipartisan position to encourage the bill through, and for all members of Congress who could muster the courage to vote aye.
0 Replies
 
 

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