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Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain and Republican Theatrics Stall Bail-Out Bill

George Wenschhof

So much for the grandstanding acts of Senator John McCain. Instead of showing up in Washington to help shepherd a deal proposed by President Bush through Congress, he interjected politics into the discussion and the bail out plan has now stalled.

Yesterday afternoon it was reported a deal on the bail out plan was imminent with the following provisions: an agreement of an initial 350 Billion to be provided to the Treasury with oversight. 250 billion up front with an additional 100 Billion available. Up to another 350 billion would be made available after another decision by Congress. The Treasury was to also receive a equity stake in firms provided funds. Another point was giving Bankruptcy Judges the authority to lower bank loan terms.

Next came the photo-op meeting with President Bush with Congressional Leaders, Senators Obama and McCain. It was during this meeting that Representative John Boehner (R-Ohio), the minority leader of the house presented an alternative plan. It provided insurance to firms that would provide equity and a decrease in capital gains tax, the latter part of the Republican mantra of the last few decades.

It was reported during the meeting Senator Obama asked Representative John Boehner for more details of his plan and he provided few details. Obama then asked Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson what his thoughts were of the proposal and he said it would not work.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered that Senator McCain did not speak until the end of the meeting and then for only a few minutes with nothing of any substance.

After the meeting at the White House concluded, Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) spoke to the press in what was an obvious planned statement saying agreement was not reached on a bail out bill.

Senator Obama offered the interjection of politics into the negotiations had not necessarily helped the process move forward.

Congress resumed meetings which concluded around 10:00 PM ET. Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) spoke to reporters and said they intended to resume meetings tomorrow morning but inferred President Bush needed to get involved by saying he had a three legged stool at the moment. This was most likely a reference to approval by Senate Democrats and Republicans along with House Democrats. It was reported the House Republicans would not attend the meeting tomorrow morning - thus the three legged stool.

As a lame duck President, Bush does not have as much influence as he once did over House Republicans so it will be interesting to see if they show for the meeting tomorrow morning.

McCain's dramatic statement yesterday saying he was suspending his campaign may well come back to haunt him as voters are already wary on his positions and lack of knowledge of the economy.

If he also fails to attend the scheduled debate tomorrow night in Oxford, Mississippi at the University of Mississippi, it could also backfire on him and leave voters wondering if he wants to address them on the key issues facing Americans today.

Stay Tuned.
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