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The news of the economic rescue plan by Congress didn’t seem to improve the confidence of investors on Monday as the Dow Jones Industrial market fell more than 800 points before rallying to close more than 300 points down.
Most polls show that average Americans are not happy with the plan.
Last Wednesday morning before the Senate took action on the bill, Sen. Claire McCaskill called a press conference to explain why she was voting for the bill. At the time, she said she didn’t like the bill but felt it was necessary.
McCaskill said she was voting for the bill because it contained oversight and was not a blank check for Wall Street. The original plan called for a $700 billion investment, but in order to get the measure passed, an additional $150 billion was added to gain support.
McCaskill’s Press Secretary Maria Speiser said McCaskill’s office has received a large amount of calls from constituents speaking out against the bill.
“I will be the first one to admit that we’ve received a lot of calls against this,” Speiser said.
Speiser added that most provisions in the bill were debated and went through the committee process. Her counterpart, Sen. Kit Bond also voted in favor of the bill.
Democratic Congressman Ike Skelton voted for the bill in its original form, that was presented by the Bush Administration, and the new pork-loaded version on Friday.
In a released statement, Skelton said he supports the bill because the American economy is important to national security.
“As Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, I study national security issues a great deal. America is the world’s indispensable nation,” he said. “To remain so, we must utilize all elements of national power – military, diplomatic, and economic. If our economy were to fail, it would undercut America’s military and diplomatic strength and make it far more difficult to properly address international challenges. And, for the American people, an economic collapse would imperil jobs, savings, farms, and small businesses. To confront the economic challenge, bold action is needed now.”
Skelton said this morning that his office has received many calls on the subject and most of them were weighted towards opposition to the bill. Skelton said he is confident in the economic information that was provided by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that led to the drafting of the rescue plan.
“The information we had is the best you’re going to get in the United States,” Skelton said. “They’re as good as they come and they went into great detail.”
Skelton said businesses and farms in Missouri would have trouble obtaining capitol if something was not done quickly.
Like McCaskill, Skelton said he is not happy about the addition of $150 million in special interest spending, and said the additions were added on in the Senate. He would not have supported it if it had been debated in the House. Skelton said he preferred the first House version that had none of the additions.
“The House had a pretty clean bill,” Skelton said. “The Senate sent it over and said ‘Take it or leave it,’ so we had to take it.”
The bill received some bi-partisan support, but it also received some bi-partisan opposition, especially in the House.
Republican Missouri Congressman Todd Akin called for Congress to come up with a realistic solution to the problem before adjourning. Akin countered with HR 7223 that he says will reform the financial markets.
“Some leading economic experts are increasingly concerned that this proposal is not the right fix for what we are facing,” Akin said in a statement. “It is inconceivable that not one hearing has been allowed to consider any alternatives to this hastily proposed bill that hands over a historically massive sum of money to Secretary Paulson who was at the helm of this economic disaster.”
Along with Missouri Republicans Sam Graves and Kenny Hulshof, Democratic Missouri Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay also voted against both versions of the bill last week. Clay said the bill rescues Wall Street but does nothing to rescue normal Americans such as the foreclosure crisis.
“I voted no (Friday) for the same reason that I voted against this bill on Monday,” Clay said in a statement. “The legislation does not address the root cause of this crisis. And to add insult to injury, they took a bad bill and made it worse by loading it up with $120 billion in earmarks. Last month over 300,000 American families lost their homes. They didn’t get a bailout.”
Along with Skelton, Democrats Emanuel Cleaver and Russ Carnahan voted in favor of the measure. Republicans Roy Blunt and JoAnn Emerson voted in favor of the bill.