Republicans cause roadblock for bailout

Dominic Baez

 

I may have money, but I cannot even begin to imagine how much $700 billion is.

The economic crisis that has been slowly crippling the nation is coming to a boil in terms of negotiations, and not in a good way, as what seems to be the most delicate of discussions is turning into the pettiest political fight in recent history.

“It dissolved into a verbal brawl in the Cabinet Room of the White House, urgent warnings from the president and pleas from a Treasury secretary who knelt before the House speaker and appealed for her support,” according to an article in last’s night online edition of The New York Times.

When Congressional leaders and Senators John McCain and Barack Obama, the two major party presidential candidates, started negotiations last night, it seemed as though there would be a bipartisan agreement on a compromise that could be mutually accepted and signed into law by the weekend. It would have pumped billions of dollars into the financial system and transformed the way Wall Street is regulated.

As if. I should have known better. Republicans seemed the least receptive of all, and by the end of the day it wasn’t any better. Even Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, warned the senators that if they failed to pass the $700 billion plan, they risked causing a recession, increasing unemployment and pushing more homes into foreclosure. He’s a smart man. Maybe we should listen?

I am a Democrat through and through. I agree something should be done about the struggling economy. While I am a little scared, especially when the government is making the largest bank seizure in American history by taking over Washington Mutual and selling pieces of it to J.P. Morgan Chase, I still want the problem to be fixed. Why can’t Republicans get that? 

I know that is biased, but so is this opinion. At last night’s Congressional hearing, McCain sat silently for 40 minutes while one of the most important conversations in current times was happening. He offered little opinion as to where he stood on the situation, which does even less to help the American people. He is going to need to take a stance if he wants his party to follow.

I am agreeing with Sen. Christopher Dodd, one of the leading Democrats on this bailout, who complained that the last few hours at the White House appeared like an effort to rescue  McCain, not the economy. And as the plan further unravels, it is becoming clearer that that was intended all along.

During the White House meeting, it appeared that McCain had an agenda. He brought up alternative proposals, which, to no great surprise, startled and angered Democrats. He did not, however, provide specifics. Way to go McCain.

One of these proposals, favored by House Republicans, would relax regulation and temporarily do away with certain taxes. 

“That approach has been rejected by Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans and, to this point, the White House. During the meeting, according to someone briefed on it, Sec. Henry Paulson told those assembled that the approach was not workable,” according to an article in The Atlantic’s online edition.

McCain’s reluctance to jump on board the bailout agreement bandwagon could throw the entire week-long negotiation into a tailspin.

This doesn’t even have to be about McCain, either. It is coming from left, right and center. I’m concerned about proposals offered by House Republicans, since they seem like they will fracture a tenuous, tentative
emerging consensus.

Democrats and Republicans might not always get along, but I think it is about time to put political differences aside and deal with the situation
at hand.

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