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Politicos begrudge bailout, contest merits

Incumbents, challengers divided on voting. Mayor Debbie Cook says she’s enraged that ‘pork’ was included in the bill.

October 03, 2008|By Michael Alexander

Local politicians remain split on the merits, in ways that appear to cross party lines, of the $700-billion bailout package that was signed into law Friday.

U.S. Rep. John Campbell, who has consistently supported the $700-billion rescue package, said its passage wasn’t something to celebrate, but that it was necessary.

“I wouldn’t say that I or anyone else who voted for it is happy, but we are relieved,” he said. “I think that this will go a long way toward stabilizing our markets, so that they begin to operate or function rationally again.”

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The dozens of representatives who switched their votes since Monday, when the bill was defeated 228-205, all appeared to have different reasons to change their minds, Campbell said.

“Some people went home for two days and found out that things really were pretty bad and this was not about Wall Street, it was about their communities,” he said. “For others, finally the light went on that this was a very, very serious problem that required very serious action.”

But Campbell’s Democratic challenger, Steve Young, called the bill a terrible idea in any form, one that could worsen the problem. Instead, Congress should have used its money to fix bad mortgages on owner-occupied homes, letting financial stability trickle up to Wall Street, he said.

“I’m absolutely opposed to the bailout,” he said. “I think it may be the biggest mistake that we have made. It will compound the problem.”

But just up the coast, in the 46th Congressional District, it was the Republican incumbent who slammed the bill and his Democratic Challenger who reluctantly supported it.

U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who voted against the package in both its original and final forms, released a statement excoriating its passage and saying the bill had been railroaded through Congress.

“Viable alternatives that did not require an enormous expansion of government or the taxpayers to shoulder the $700-billion cost of Wall Street’s irresponsibility were not permitted to be introduced or debated as part of the process,” Rohrabacher said in his statement. “The bottom line is this bill takes money from people who acted responsibly and gives it to those who acted irresponsibly and that is not only unfair, but will lead to serious long-term economic consequences.”

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