The economic recovery bill has passed, easily, in the House 263-171.
Stay “tuned” for details and reaction.
Stock markets are mixed. Currently, at 2:40 p.m., the Dow is only up 18 points and the NASDAQ 4 points.
DJ also “live-blogged” the vote.
Rep. Thelma Drake voted, as she did on Monday, “No”. Her statement:
“This is without question a very difficult vote on the most important domestic issue facing our country. Let me be clear, I do not take lightly the critical nature of the credit crisis our markets face today. I have spent dozens of hours researching the issues and listening to financial, government and business leaders in my district and in Washington, and most importantly thousands of my constituents. I came to the conclusion that this bill is at its foundation fatally flawed. The bill pledges 700 billion of taxpayer dollars with no guarantee this will correct the underlying problem and stabilize the markets.
“Now that the vote is behind us, we all should agree that the next step is to ensure that this legislation is implemented properly with aggressive congressional oversight. We also must reform the laws related to the financial industry, the mortgage industry, predatory lending, and appraisal reform and ensure that this never happens again.”
Her opponent in this year’s congressional race, Glenn Nye, also did not support today’s bill:
“Today’s vote to pass the bailout is the latest, and hopefully final, chapter in Congress’ sad failures to provide oversight and guard taxpayers’ money. Although I opposed today’s bill, I am now calling on Congress to finally do its job and provide the needed oversight over the $700 billion of taxpayer dollars and over the market to prevent another meltdown.”
Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA04) also voted “No”:
“When I voted against the first Wall Street bailout bill on Monday, I did so because I was not willing to risk $700 billion of taxpayer dollars on a plan that I, after talking with senior Treasury officials and the former chairman of the FDIC, was not confident would work. The revised bailout bill we voted on today contained a number of positive provisions, including increasing FDIC insurance coverage for American families and businesses. Even with these improvements, the core of the bill remained the same – the federal government will purchase $700 billion in bad assets from private corporations who have made poor financial decisions, and there is still no assurance as to whether the expenditure of $700 billion will solve the problem at hand. It became a bit like adding ornaments to a Christmas tree that no one wants; no matter how many ornaments were added, the problem was still the tree. I could not support a bill that leaves us with no backstop if it fails.”
Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA01), another “no” vote, offered this advice on the way ahead:
In financial markets, we must overhaul our regulatory structure to ensure that a situation like this never again endangers the financial security of this country. A good start would be moving quickly to eliminate mark to market accounting rules that have contributed to the downturn by requiring firms to evaluate their assets on a short-term fluctuation rather than their long term investment value.
On Main Street, Congress must act to ensure that our small businesses have the tools they need to make payroll and cover short and long term expenses. We must see to it that families’ livelihoods are not threatened by subsequent market corrections and that community banks are able to provide credit. If you have good credit and pay your bills responsibly, you should be able to get a home, auto or small business loan.
Perhaps most important to the future of this country, we must realize the significant debt burden we are undertaking with this recovery plan and restrain government spending in other areas accordingly. With one vote, we have added nearly one trillion dollars to the national debt. We cannot afford to maintain the current pace of spending and expect a healthy country in the future.
President Bush (from a transcript) applauded the bill’s passage (update: and he has already signed the bill):
The Senate passed this same legislation Wednesday night. When congress sends me the final bill, I will sign it into law. There were moments this week when some thought that the federal government could not rise to the challenge. Thanks to the hard work of members of both parties and both houses and and the spirit of capitol hill and my administration, we completed the bill in a timely manner. I am especially grateful for the contributions of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader John Boehner, Majority Leader Stenny Hoyer, and Minority Whip Roy Blunt and Chairman Barney Frank and Ranking Member Spencer Bacchus. And by coming together on the legislation, we have acted boldly to help prevent the crisis on wall street from becoming a crisis in communities across our country.
We have shown the world that the United States of America will stabilize our financial markets and maintain a leading role in the global economy. A major problem in the financial system is that banks have restricted the flow of credit to businesses and consumers and many of the assets that the banks are holding have lost value. The legislation passed today by congress addresses the problem head-on by providing a variety of new tools to the government such as allowing us to purchase some to troubled assets and creating a new government insurance program to guarantee the value of others. The bill also ensures that the plans will be carried out in a way that protects taxpayers and preventing failed executives from receiving windfalls from taxpayers’ dollars. Establishes a bipartisan board to oversee the plan’s implementation.
Taken together, these plans represent decisive action to ease the credit crunch of the country. Businesses will be able to stock their shelves and meet payrolls and more families can get loans for cars and homes and education. More state and local governments can fund basic services. The bill includes other provisions to help other consumers and businesses and including tax incentives for businesses to create jobs and temporarily expands the federal insurance from bank deposits from $$100,000 to $250,000. A basic safeguard for all businesses and families. and a relief from the tax which would increase taxes for 26 million taxpayers by $2,012.
I know that Americans have concern about the legislation and the government’s role in the bill’s cost. A strong supporter for enterprise. i believe that government intervention should only occur when necessary. In this situation, action is clearly necessary. Ultimately, the cost to the taxpayers will be far less than the initial outlay. You see the government will purchase troubled assets and once the market recovers, it is likely that many of the assets will go up in value. And over time Americans should expect that much if not all the tax dollars that we invest will be paid back. Americans should also expect that it will take some time for this legislation to have the full impact on the economy.
Exercising the authorities in this bill in a responsible way will require a careful analysis and deliberation. This will be done as expeditiously as possible, but it cannot be accomplished overnight. It will take time to achieve the necessary program to achieve objectives and does not waste taxpayers’ dollars. Our economy faces serious challenges. This morning we learned that America lost jobs again in September. Disappointing news that underscores the urgency that congress passed today. It will take time to get through this difficult period, but with confidence and bipartisan leadership, we will overcome to challenges we face and return our nation to the path of growth and job creation and long-term economic prosperity. Thank you.
Sen. John McCain was less enthusiastic then the president and congratulated House Republican efforts to inject some responsibility into the bill:
“I commend the House of Representatives for coming together to pass the economic rescue bill today. I’m glad I suspended my campaign to go back to Washington to help bring the House Republicans to the table. I believe that the taxpayer protections that have been added have improved the bill.
“This rescue bill is not perfect, and it is an outrage that it’s even necessary. But we must stop the damage to our economy done by corrupt and incompetent practices on Wall Street and in Washington.
“The action Congress took today is a tourniquet, not a permanent solution. Our economy is still hurting and further action is needed, and it should not take a crisis to get this Congress to act.
“Washington is still on the wrong track, and we face a stark choice in this election. We can go backwards with job-killing tax hikes, the same old broken partisanship, and out of control spending as Senator Obama would have us do or we can bring real reform to Washington.
“My focus is to reform Washington and put government back on the side of working families with tax relief, modern job training, energy independence, more affordable health care, and policies that get spending under control.
“That’s how we’re going to get America moving again, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Thank you and again, I commend the House Republicans for acting in the best interest of our nation.”
In addition to Wittman, Forbes and Drake, Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA03), Virgil Goode (VA-05), and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA06) voted no, as well. But Reps. Eric Cantor (R-VA07), Jim Moran (D-VA08), Rick Boucher (D-VA09), Frank Wolf (R-VA10) and Tom Davis (R-VA11) voted yes.
Pretty much a NoVA / RoVA split again…regardless of party. Cantor is leadership and had a stake in the passage, regardless of his representing Henrico.