In a vote that shook the government, Wall Street, and markets around the world, the House on Monday defeated a $700 billion emergency rescue for the nation’s financial system, leaving both parties and the Bush administration struggling to pick up the pieces. The Dow Jones industrials plunged nearly 800 points, the most ever for a single day.
“We need to put something back together that works,” a grim-faced Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said after he and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke joined in an emergency strategy session at the White House. On Capitol Hill, Democratic leaders said the House would reconvene Thursday in hopes of a quick vote on a reworked version.
Nancy Pelosi showed the kind of leadership we can continue to expect from a Democrat-run Congress in a speech before the vote:
Republicans blamed Pelosi’s scathing speech near the close of the debate — which assailed Bush’s economic policies and a “right-wing ideology of anything goes, no supervision, no discipline, no regulation” of financial markets — for the defeat.
“We could have gotten there today had it not been for the partisan speech that the speaker gave on the floor of the House,” Boehner said.
Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the whip, estimated that Pelosi’s speech changed the minds of a dozen Republicans who might otherwise have supported the plan.
Brilliant work, Nancy. Here’s an idea: let’s get up just before one of the most important pieces of legislation this year and do our best to alienate plenty of the people who’ll vote for it! That’s bipartisanship! That’s leadership. And they call President Bush a moron. Barney Frank tried to put the blame on Republicans after the vote (showing a tiny bit more good sense):
That amounted to an appalling accusation by Republicans against Republicans, said Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the Financial Services Committee: “Because somebody hurt their feelings, they decide to punish the country.”
No, BARNEY. The Republicans didn’t punish the country. It’s the majority party’s job to push through legislation, BARNEY. Nancy should’ve gotten more Democrats to vote yes, BARNEY. That was where it fell down, BARNEY. Between alienating on-the-fence Republicans and utterly failing to organize and lead her party, the bill bit the big one, BARNEY.
Maybe we’ll get something palatable by the end of the week.