Missouri Legislators Mixed On Bailout Bill

This story was written by Joey Soto, The Maneater


The largest bailout plan in United States history is one step closer to President George Bush's desk for approval.

The $700 billion bailout bill passed the Senate on Wednesday night by a 74-25 margin. Missouri Sens. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, and Kit Bond, a Republican, voted in favor of the legislation.

In a news release issued Wednesday night, McCaskill voiced her initial discontent with the bill and her understanding of its implications.

"This bill stinks, but the alternative is much worse," McCaskill said. "We now will limit executive compensation, provide strong oversight, limit taxpayer money involved and work to restore regulation to the Wild West of Wall Street."

Like McCaskill, Bond said he realized the urgency of passing a bill in attempt to resolve the economic crisis.

"I fear without immediate action this crisis will spread to Main Street, hurting workers who may not get paychecks, small businesses who may fail, farmers who may not get operating loans and families who may not get the home loans, car loans or student loans they need," Bond said in a news release.

McCaskill said even though the government is taking on an enormous burden, this plan is poised to affect its constituents as positively as possible.

"While our government will buy troubled assets, we now have a plan that will not reward the greedy yahoos at these financial institutions and give taxpayers a realistic chance of actually making money on this deal," she said.

Presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and John McCain both voted in favor of the legislation.

McCain also said in a news release he thought the rescue plan was necessary to avoid further economic trauma.

"If the financial rescue bill fails in Congress yet again, the present crisis will turn into a disaster," McCain said in the release.

Although Obama voted for the bill, he said in a news release that even with the new provisions the plan has problems.

"While these taxpayer protections are now part of the rescue plan, this plan still isn't perfect," Obama said in the release. "But it's what we must do to prevent a crisis from turning into a catastrophe."

The bill will be sent to the House on Friday, which voted down a similar measure on Monday. The Missouri congressional delegation voted 5-4 against the measure.

U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the second ranking Republican in the House, voted in support of the measure on Monday and said he expects a different outcome when the Senate-approved bill reaches the House because of the changes made by the upper chamber.

Blunt spokesman Nick Simpson said the congressman hopes certain provisions of the bill passed in the Senate, namely, increased insurance for bank transactions and more stringent standards for loan approval, will gain more bipartisan support in the House than the bill proposed earlier this week.

Since Monday, Blunt made efforts to rally support by talking with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle and Bush administration officials.

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who voted against the measure on Monday, said he has no intention of altering his decision.

"He's going to stick with his vote," Akin spokesman Steve Taylor said. "He believes something needs to be done, but the problem is there are a lot of experts that are coming forward and saying we need to take a close look to see if this response is appropriate and if it will fix the problem."

Akin said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is doing citizens a disservice by pressing for a quick solution.

"The heart of the proposed baiout is to take $700 billion and have virtually no oversight and have Secretary Paulson, who is at the helm of this economic disaster to begin with, unilaterally distribute it," Taylor said. "People like Paulson are forcing this situation by promoting panic."

Alhough Akin remains opposed to the legislation, he is not opposed to finding a different solution for the crisis.

MU management professor Karen Schnatterly said she is apprehensive about some of the provisions added to the bill by the Senate.

"Some of the things they put in were necessary to get it passed and attract votes from those not willing to vote otherwise," Schnatterly said. "In terms of the scale of the bill, there are a lot of different pieces we're trying to throw at the market to calm things down. Some pieces are to get votes because they might affect the market. But others won't affect the market."

Chris Sanders, vice president of Allied Mortgage in Columbia, said he thinks the label of the bill as a bailout is misleading.

"I don't know why they call it a bailout plan," Sanders said. "It's a stabilizing bill because they are stabilizing the credit markets."

The bill is not going to resolve the economic crisis immediately, Sanders said, but he is confident it will help the market overall.

"It's certainly going to help stabilize and calm the market. Right now we've got a lot of fear-driven information," Sanders said. "Rules of the lending platform are changing. Once everything is dissected and observed, we'll see a more conservative lending platform."
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