Politicians doing more damage than good?

September 30, 2008 10:47:07 PM PDT
The President and his economic advisors are urging Congress to act on a bailout plan, but the House has recessed in observance of the Jewish New Year and it'll be Thursday before they return.

Bankruptcy protection; Raising of the federal deposit insurance; Another economic stimulus package; Those are the ideas being tossed around on Capitol Hill as House members take a couple of days off to regroup. When they return, Democrats like Barbara Lee will be looking for foreclosure protection.

Ralph Nader brought his presidential campaign to San Francisco, railing against the bailout.

"The bailout must not be passed!" says Nader.

Representative Jackie Speier returned to San Mateo Tuesday, optimistic that there will be an agreement by the end of the week.

"There's 12 votes necessary to get this package passed and I think there will be those votes over the course of the next few days. There may be some changes made to the bill to do that," says Speier.

Speier voted for the bill, but Democrat Barbara Lee, who voted against the bill, will be looking for the addition of foreclosure protection.

"We need a moratorium on foreclosure and bankruptcy reform to help people stay in their homes," says Lee.

Both Barack Obama and John McCain said they would support raising the government's insurance on bank deposits. Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle urged the House to stop playing politics.

"The blame game needs to end and we need to move forward on doing what's right for our country," says Sen. Harry Reid (D).

"This is not the time to fix the blame. This is the time to fix the problem," Sen. Mitch McConnell (R).

Politics hasn't done much to fix the problem. McCain suspended his campaign to focus on a fix, but not a single lawmaker from his home state supported the bailout bill -- Arizona's four Democrats and four Republicans all voted no.

Obama didn't fare much better. His home state was split down the middle and of the 39 members of the Congressional Black Caucus, 21 voted against the bill.

But an ABC Washington Post poll shows voters are blaming Republicans two-to-one for the failure of the bailout bill. Stanford political science professor Morris Fiorina says Republicans will take the brunt on Election Day.

"The fact that this simply happened on Bush's watch adds to the notion that this is an administration that has the country in shambles, that you're not as well off as you were four years ago, and these people become susceptible to an appeal to just vote against Republicans in general," says Fiorina.

A study done by MapLight.org shows those Bay Area lawmakers who voted for the bailout received an average of $229,000 from the banking and finance industry. That's nearly three times more than the amount given on average to the four Bay Area representatives who voted against the bailout plan. Nationwide, those who voted in favor got about 54 percent more in contributions from banking and financial interests.


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