McCain: Revamped Bailout Bill Is Better

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain leaves a meeting on Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008. Later McCain will meet at the White House with President Bush, other leading lawmakers and presidential nominee Barack Obama on the financial crisis. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Wednesday the resurrected financial bailout bill isn't perfect but warned that the nation's financial crisis will become a full-fledged disaster if the plan fails.

In an economic speech Wednesday at the Truman Library and Museum, McCain said the original proposal that failed in the House was flawed because it did not contain taxpayer protections, limitations on executive compensation and sufficient protections for people's bank accounts.

"I am pleased that these are being added to improve the original bill," he said.

In fact, the bill that failed did contain limits on executive compensation and provisions for taxpayers to recoup some or all of the bill's aid, as both McCain and his Democratic opponent Barack Obama had advocated. The new version contains increased protection for individual bank accounts, again advocated by both presidential candidates. The new bill also adds tax cuts that neither candidate had linked to the rescue.

If the revised version, up for a vote in the Senate later Wednesday, were to fail, students won't be able to get college loans and families will have trouble buying new homes, he said. Car sales will take a hit and businesses will have difficulty paying employees and securing credit for operations, he said.

"If we fail to act, the gears of our economy will grind to a halt," McCain said.

McCain planned to return to Washington to vote on the bill, which adds substantial tax cuts meant to appeal to Republicans when it reaches the House. The modest changes include an increase in Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. protection for bank accounts from $100,000 to $250,000, as advocated Tuesday by both McCain and Obama.

McCain, whose campaign initially blamed Obama for contributing to the failure of the House bill, avoided attacking, or even mentioning, Obama in the speech at the library where former Democratic president Harry Truman is buried and his papers are kept.

Instead he stuck largely to promoting the broader points of his economic plan, which include a mix of tax cuts, free trade expansion and a one-year spending freeze everywhere except defense.

He also promised that a McCain administration would "apply new rules to Wall Street, to end the frenzies of speculation by people gaming the system, and to make sure that this present crisis is never repeated."

McCain also paid tribute to Truman. After giving his remarks, McCain went off by himself and silently visited the grave of Truman and his wife, Bess, in the library's courtyard.

In his remarks, McCain had noted that Truman "knew how suddenly a crisis could come about," and surmised the former president would not be surprised by today's financial meltdown.

"The costs of unbridled greed on Wall Street, the foolishness of politicians who fed the problem, and the recklessness of politicians who failed to meet the crisis all of these would have a familiar feel to the man from Independence," McCain said.
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