Austin Congressional Delegation 3-1 Against Bailout
Their votes, with comments
By Lee Nichols,
10:13AM, Tue. Sep. 30, 2008
As you no doubt have heard by now, the $700 billion Wall Street bailout plan went down in flames in the House Monday morning. Here’s how Austin representatives voted, with statements from some:
Michael McCaul, R: No “Fundamentally I have deep concerns about government intervention into the private sector. We cannot allow responsible taxpayers on Main Street to bail out irresponsible banks on Wall Street. Even with some of the conservative principles drafted into the bill that we hoped would provide greater oversight, I cannot ask the people who have placed their trust in me to cover $700 billion in bad debt incurred by private firms. In a capitalist system people are held responsible for their decisions. They don’t dump bad debt on the public.
“I believe there is a way to rescue our economy without placing the bulk of the burden on home owners and businesses who struggle to meet their own bottom line. Instead, we have rushed into a rescue plan that taxpayers may very well need to be rescued from. If this Congress doesn’t get this right this could result in the largest sub-prime loan ever issued. If we don’t make the necessary reforms to fix the fundamental problems with our economy we are throwing good money after bad. It will be on the backs of the taxpayers and the debt will be passed down to our children. That’s the result we want to avoid.”
Lloyd Doggett, D: No “Like the Iraq war and the Patriot Act, this bill is fueled by fear and hinges on haste. So much is missing. There is: No requirement that Wall Street pay a dime for the damage caused or the clean-up, though a future President can request Congress do what it declines to do today. No meaningful limitation on outrageous executive pay; like the war, no shared sacrifice; only rewards for the greedy and burdens for the needy. No bar on American taxpayers having to bail out the Bank of China – and the entire world. No guarantee taxpayers will not be overcharged for buying toxic debts that no one else wants. And no guarantee taxpayers really share in future profits of those bailed out.
“Yes, every one of these concerns gets cosmetic mention. Not even Avon and Mary Kay can compete with the cosmetics in this bill. This 100-page bill – three pages of what Secretary Paulson would do; 97 pages of what he could do, plus excuses for approving the first three pages. It aspires, but it seldom requires.
“All of us want to avoid further economic deterioration. Action or inaction today – that's a false choice; it is a matter of never seriously considering any alternative in these negotiations to just giving $700 billion to the same Bush Administration that has done so much to create this crisis and for whom the vultures have now come home to roost.”
John Carter, R: No
Lamar Smith, R: Yes “Much of our economic crisis today is rooted in misguided policies of the past. Permitting home mortgages with nothing down was a disaster waiting to happen when home prices fell. Unfortunately, all the bad mortgages and the resulting credit crisis have dragged down our economy and threatened the financial well-being of all Americans.
“If companies big and small cannot access funds they need to operate and pay employees, this will adversely impact the entire economy and punish hard-working Americans. If credit to buy homes, cars and other purchases dries up, home prices will fall even further and loans will become even harder to get.
“Many people felt the original proposal was unfair. It would have been far more unfair to do nothing and allow a recession to occur, which will hurt everyone. Changes were made to the plan to address those concerns. Measures were successfully included to ensure Wall Street would pay its share and taxpayers were protected.
“We’re facing the economic equivalent of a cattle stampede. To stop a stampede, you have to act quickly and decisively and get ahead of the herd to turn it. I think that this plan, while not perfect, would have done that.
“This was not about bailing out Wall Street. It was about protecting American jobs, the financial security of families, and the economy of our nation.
“Since half of all households own stocks either directly or indirectly through 401(k) accounts, IRAs, and pension plans, we need to find a solution to this crisis.
“The money in the compromise plan would have been used to purchase the mortgage-related assets at the center of the problem. When the financial markets stabilized, many of those assets would regain their value and be sold by the federal government to recover a substantial portion of the cost for taxpayers.
“I believed the plan would have stabilized the economy, strengthened home values, and prevented a devastating recession. It was designed to be an investment in the future of the American people.”