The House of Representatives gave final approval on Friday October 3 to the $700 billion bailout for the financial system, reversing course to authorize what may be the most expensive government intervention in history.
BY DAVID M. HERSZENHORN,
The New York Times/Truthout
Posted by Bulatlat
Washington – The House of Representatives gave final approval on Friday October 3 to the $700 billion bailout for the financial system, reversing course to authorize what may be the most expensive government intervention in history.
The crucial vote was 263-171, passing by a comfortable bipartisan margin. Most Democrats voted in favor (172 yeas to 63 nays), while a slighter majority of Republicans voted against (91 yeas to 108 nays). Every member of the House voted. (There is one vacancy, created by recent death of Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio.)
At 1:21 p.m., applause and cheers echoed through the House chamber as the number of “aye” votes crossed the threshold needed for passage with just seconds remaining in the official 15-minute voting period.
The Senate approved the plan on Wednesday night by a vote of 74 to 25, after adding a portfolio of popular tax provisions. The bill now heads to President Bush who is eager to sign it.
Financial markets, already weighed down by another round of bleak economic data, including a report showing 159,000 jobs were lost in September, had a positive but hardly exuberant response to the House action. Ahead of the vote, the Dow Jones industrial average was up about 290 points but the market gave up almost all of those gains within 30 minutes after the final vote.
After the remarkable defeat of the bailout package on Monday, Congressional leaders took no chances on Friday. Democrats had said they would not bring the bill back to the floor unless they were certain of victory.
The revolt earlier this week by the House’s rank and file was quelled both by fears of a global economic meltdown, and by old-fashioned political inducements added to the deal by the Senate.
And just to be sure, the leaders had a backup plan, giving them the option to interrupt the proceedings and debate an increase in unemployment benefits, so that they could round up additional votes. In the end, it was not needed.
Many lawmakers who changed sides, said they had agonized over the decision amid a torrent of calls and e-mail messages from constituents, and several cited a provision added by the Senate increasing the amount of savings insured by the federal government to $250,000 per account from $100,000.
Several Democrats in the Congressional Black Caucus said they were persuaded to support the bill by Senator Barack Obama, the party’s presidential nominee. But many lawmakers said they were motivated most by fears of economic calamity.
“Nobody in East Tennessee hates the fact more than me that I am going to vote ‘yes’ today after voting ‘no’ on Monday,” Representative Zach Wamp, a Republican, said in a speech on the House floor.
“Monday I cast a blue-collar vote for the American people,” he said. “Today I am going to cast a red, white and blue-collar vote with my hand over my heart for this country, because things are really bad and we don’t have any choice. We’re out of choices and our backs are up against the wall.”