9/29/08

Bush's crony capitalism jars GOP voters

Any differences between Republican bigs and ACORN-friendly Dems?

Several House Republicans announced opposition Sunday to a tentative agreement on a massive bailout for troubled banks that was reached by congressional leaders from both parties.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) wrote on Twitter.com, "Sunday morning. News channels reporting a deal has been reach. Funny, somebody forgot to tell Congress. No details. Arm breaking begins soon!”

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) urged fellow Republicans to oppose the deal in a letter.

“The decision to give the federal government the ability to nationalize almost every bad mortgage in America interrupts this basic truth of our free market economy," Pence wrote. "Republicans improved this bill but it remains the largest corporate bailout in American history, forever changes the relationship between government and the financial sector, and passes the cost along to the American people. I cannot support it."

Pence added, "Before you vote, ask yourself why you came here and vote with courage and integrity to those principles...If you came here because you believe in limited government and the freedom of the American marketplace, vote in accordance with those convictions."

House Republicans said they learned of the deal from the press, and not from their leaders, suggesting those leaders could be in story for a rocky House GOP conference meeting Sunday afternoon. The time for that meeting has not been scheduled.

Members of the conservative House Republican Study Committee, who will presumably show the most resistance toward the bill, will meet directly after the full conference.

A spokesman for Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he would not comment on the package until it was presented to his conference members for feedback. But Boehner's office also issued a "myth versus fact" release, suggesting support for the compromise.

House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) helped negotiate the deal and issued a side-by-side comparison that showed the tentative deal, the original proposal from Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and provisions Democrats had demanded. That was supposed to show the gains House GOP leaders had won, and soothe their roiling conference.

Early indications are that the effort has not been entirely successful.

“The deal we have is not the best deal that we could have,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on the House floor. “I expect to vote against this bill…if a drowning man asks you for a lifeline you give him a lifeline, but you don’t give him your boat and let him sail away.”

“I said last night you should be concerned, [today] you should be alarmed,” Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) said on the floor.

Some GOP leaders don't appear thrilled by the deal either.

“Let me put this in the simplistic terms for people like me to understand,” said Policy Chairman Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) on Fox News.

“Now the Wall-Street crony capitalists have put a 700-pound billion dollar bag of dung on taxpayers’ doorsteps, rung the bell, and expect you to thank them when you answer it. I think the American people will believe otherwise.”

Even Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor (Va.), who led a working group of House Republicans in crafting a set of principles last week, said a final agreement had not been reached on CNN’s Late Edition.

"We are not ready to say that a deal is done," Cantor said.

A spokesman for Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), however, said Putnam is “pleased with what he's heard and views it as far better because of the efforts of House Republicans, but wants to see paper.”

The two presidential candidates, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), have offered suport for the fragile compromise.

A vote on the package is possible as early as Monday.

(thehill.com)

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