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Bank Bailout Vote Comes Back to Haunt Lawmakers Up for Election

5 years ago
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While the $700 billion bailout of banks has been credited with containing the financial meltdown of 2008, many lawmakers who voted for it -- Republicans as well as Democrats -- have found it to be a political albatross in this year's elections, the New York Times reports.

The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was proposed by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, with the backing of then President Bush and the Democratic congressional leadership. But in this election year with its strong anti-Washington overtones, members of Congress who voted for it are finding themselves under attack for promoting big government and fiscal irresponsibility, the Times says.

While Democrats have been coming under fire from Republican challengers for support of the bailout, one of the twists in the current midterm contests is that Republican incumbents who voted for the program are being pummeled by both Republican and Democratic candidates, as well as drawing the wrath of Tea Party activists.

Bob InglisAmong Republicans the Times listed as coming under attack for supporting TARP were six-term South Carolina Rep. Bob Inglis who lost to a challenger in a GOP primary by 40 points, longtime Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley who is being criticized for his vote by Democratic opponent Roxanne Conlin, and Arizona Sen. John McCain who is being opposed for re-nomination by former conservative talk show host J.D. Hayworth.

The Times noted that the issue was one of the factors that prompted Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter to leave the party rather than contend for the nomination against a conservative rival.

One of the most-publicized instances of Republicans turning out one of their incumbents was in Utah where three-term Sen. Robert Bennett, long considered a reliable conservative, didn't even get enough votes at a state GOP convention to make the primary ballot. Bennett had been jeered at the convention by people chanting, "TARP, TARP, TARP," The Times noted.

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WASHINGTON — Struggling to stave off financial catastrophe, the Bush administration on Friday laid out a radical bailout plan with a jawdropping price tag _ a takeover of a half-trillion dollars or more in worthless mortgages and other bad debt held by tottering institutions.

Relieved investors sent stocks soaring on Wall Street and around the globe. The Dow-Jones industrials average rose 368 points after surging 410 points the day before on rumors the federal action was afoot.

A grim-faced President Bush acknowledged risks to taxpayers in what would be the most sweeping government intervention to rescue failing financial institutions since the Great Depression. But he declared, "The risk of not acting would be far higher."

July 12 2010 at 10:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dc walker

I have voted both Democrat and Republican but what really sent me over the edge last Dec was when the Senator fr NV bribed other elected senators with $10 billion for their health care votes. I first got wind of this practice during the movie Charlie Wilson's war when he was sitting on a committee and took $500 million taxpayer monies to give the Taliban to fight the Russians without a congressional vote, without a President's signature. This practice that members of congress can give out money like it was from their own piggy bank has to stop. No wonder we are in debt. We take in 2 trillion a year in taxes and yet these seantors and congressman are not held responsible for their spending.

July 12 2010 at 10:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Are you sure that the bailout is the reason? I question if it may be the fact that our current legislators have done EVERYTHING wrong and so anyone in office now will be voted out.

July 11 2010 at 8:04 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

The vote to release the TARP funding was pretty much along party lines, with most Democrats voting to release the funding. Below a list of the exceptions.

Nine Democrats voted NOT to relesee the funds: Bayh (IN), Cantwell (WA), Dorgan (ND), Feingold (WI), Lincoln (AR), Ben Nelson (NE), Shaheen (NH), Sanders (VT), Wyden (OR).....................................................................

Six Republicans voted to release the money: Alexander (TN), Gregg (NH), Kyl (AZ), Lugar (IN), Snowe (ME), Voinovich (OH)..........................................

Those above up for re-election in 2010: Bayh, Lincoln, Dorgan, Feingold, Wyden, and Gregg.

July 11 2010 at 7:20 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

Yes we bailout banks for 700 Billion and have a healthcare cyctem very want for 900 Billion but heaven forbid that they pass a 25 Billion dollar law to help those who are unemployed

July 11 2010 at 7:18 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply

They should have voted to give the TARP to the VOTERS who VOTED them into office. Karma is something. Isn't it?

July 11 2010 at 6:45 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

What is really interesting about all this is the government will help out the banks and the automakers and such, but the regular slob of a citizen is left to fend for himself. The republicans in the senate refuse to pass UI extentions, which will help those that need help yet they have no problem helping the rich. So if you are unemployed and have to decide whether to eat or go to the doctor you can thank your local republican senator for being a real Anti-American representative. Perhaps it is time that we told our republican senators that we will not vote for them in November. I have already let John McCain and John Kyl know this. I have also let them know that come primary time, I will vote for their opponent. Then come the general, I will vote against the party altogether unless they change quickly.

July 11 2010 at 6:40 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

Well, well, well!! It appears many of the supporters of the gargantuan bailouts are beginning to get a case of buyer's remorse. Congress has enjoyed carte blanche far too long when it comes to spending program on top of spending program. The national debt has now reached a point at which Democrat, Republican, and Independent voters are downright frightened when they see the amount of our debt. If our country is still standing 75 years from now, our children and grandchildren, and beyond will be saddled with this monster. Congress MUST develop a budget and stick to it. If the money isn't there, there are to be NO new programs. My wife and I would like to buy a new car. We are going to need one in the next year or so because our current vehicle is aging and has high mileage on it. As for now, the payments would be too high. Therefore, we will keep driving the one we have. Congress is addicted to spending and needs to go to rehab to kick the habit. It's that or we will see our whole system collapse under the load of this debt. It's time the voters send a whole lot of our senators and representatives home to stay.

July 11 2010 at 5:40 PM Report abuse +13 rate up rate down Reply

If they gave welfare to the banks the least they could've of done was have a financial panel draw up a criteria that would mandate guidelines for mortagage modification. The banks who took money from us had no mandate to help homeowners and for the most part refuse to do so. There are those who would go into foreclosure no matter what and that's fine. The problem is though there are those who could make it with some help but that's not happening for the most part.

July 11 2010 at 4:17 PM Report abuse +18 rate up rate down Reply

doesn't really make any difference any way. the politicians are not the ones really running this country. it's the people behind them. and i'm pretty sure that those candidates who are now running against the ones who voted for TARP had them selves been in office at that time, they would have voted for TARP as well.

after all, it's either that or those really running the country would have seen to it they lost their careers. which these politicians did any way. no matter who is voted in, over all, politically speaking, every thing stays the same.

as far as i'm concerned, voting is just a waste of time. and how is it all these new laws are being passed with out the people even being aware of it? shouldn't every new proposed law be voted on by the PEOPLE???

July 11 2010 at 4:09 PM Report abuse +17 rate up rate down Reply

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