UPDATED: Colorado congressional votes unchanged in bailout bill passage
Colorado Democrats Mark Udall and John Salazar and Republicans Marilyn Musgrave and Doug Lamborn stuck with their opposition to a massive $700 billion emergency plan to rescue the nation’s troubled financial credit markets on Friday morning, but House leaders corralled enough votes to pass the bailout 263-171.
The members of the Colorado delegation who supported the bill Monday — Democrats Diana DeGette and Ed Perlmutter, and Republican Tom Tancredo — voted the same way Friday to adopt the bill with amendments approved Thursday by the Senate.
Colorado’s senators split their vote, with Democrat Ken Salazar supporting the bill and Wayne Allard opposing it.
“It was basically the same bill,” Udall said from the Capitol minutes after the vote. “It’s still a bailout.”
Udall, who is giving up his House seat this year to run for the Senate, dismissed most of the changes made to the bill by the Senate as “hundreds of pages of sweeteners to buy people’s votes.” The bill did have “some improvement,” Udall said, citing the temporary boost in FDIC insurance limits on bank accounts, but said “that was an add-on, it wasn’t strengthening the bill in these key areas.” Overall, Udall said, “this wasn’t good enough” to win his support.
“I think what we should have done,” Udall said, “was keep working together to get a better bill.” He listed several provisions the rewritten bill lacked: an assurance taxpayers would get their money back if financial companies became profitable; a requirement lenders work with strapped mortgage-holders to resolve foreclosures; an “airtight process” for limiting executive compensation at companies aided by the bailout; and “independent oversight” for the bailout. Udall suggested New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and wealthy investors Warren Buffett and T. Boone Pickens should join federal officials running the program.
“It doesn’t do anything to fix the broken financial system,” Udall said. He pegged at “50-50″ the chances Congress would reconvene for a lame-duck session after the elections to address problems in financial markets and the ongoing foreclosure crisis.
“Unfortunately, Congress has chosen to address our most serious financial crisis in almost a century with a band-aid,” Salazar said in a statement released after the vote Friday.
“Congress should have rejected the administration and brought forward a bill that was tough enough to protect the American taxpayer and small business owner, included the regulations necessary to prevent this mess from happening again, provided assistance to help Americans stay in their homes, and had the guts to be fiscally responsible,” Salazar said.
“This bill is not perfect and there were good reasons to vote either way,” Perlmutter said in a statement Friday. “I understand those reasons. But, I believe our economy is in a crisis, and I strongly believe we needed to act now to stabilize the markets and deal with the credit crisis in order to rebuild and strengthen our economy.”
Perlmutter, who had a hand preparing the original House bill from his seat on the House Financial Services Committee, said, “Even after this vote our work is not done, it will take more time to pull ourselves out of this mess, and I am committed to doing just that.”
Republican leaders fell short of the 100 votes they had originally promised to help pass the bill but added 26 votes from Monday’s 65 to total 91 in favor Friday. A majority of Republicans voted against the bill Friday, 108-91, including Musgrave and Lamborn.
Democrats increased “yea” votes from 140 on Monday to 172 on Friday. Including Udall and Salazar, 63 Democrats voted against the bill.
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