"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!" - Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) -

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Movement Today Within The Ranks Of House Republicans Reveals a Potentially Road Blocking Amendment.

(Pelosi Opposing) The Amendment would trim the “Bailout” money to an initial $250 billion and a requirement that spending more than $250 billion needs the approval of Congress. (See Below)

As Of 8:00 PM the Votes in The House Are Not Lined Up for passage tomorrow. It will be a long night. The LaTourette/Bachus Republican Caucus faction Amendment has real merit as review and updating could come after the election, even earlier than November 17 as presently envisioned, if deemed necessary by events.

Tomorrow's Problems May Well Be PPPP...Pelosi, Posturing, Pork and Pig Headness!

People's Speak Out at U.S. Capitol Building | says "Bailout the people, not the banks" (Story and Photos Here)


Some House Republicans want 'pork' removed from bailout bill

WASHINGTON -- Take the "pork" out of the bailout bill before it gets a final House vote.

That was the demand this afternoon at a Capitol Hill news conference from a group of House Republicans, including central-Ohio Reps. David Hobson of Springfield and Pat Tiberi of Genoa Township, and Rep. Steven C. LaTourette of Bainbridge Township near Cleveland.

Tiberi and LaTourette voted against the initial House bill that went down to defeat Monday, causing a massive one-day stock market plunge as investors reacted to the prospect of the failure of the proposed $700 billion rescue package to relieve financial institutions of huge amounts of bad debt.

Both of them have indicated that they are leaning to voting for the revised Senate version expected to come to a vote in the House on Friday, but LaTourette said today that he is prepared to vote no again if the Senate bill isn't stripped of a series of what he considers pork-barrel tax provisions.

A group of tax breaks were added to the bill in the hopes of attracting more House votes, particularly among Republicans. Most of them breaks extend business tax breaks about to expire, and are popular provisions.

But LaTourette, Hobson, Tiberi and other House GOP critics say that senators also put in new, targeted tax breaks.

"I am a no" unless those tax breaks are taken out, LaTourette said at the news conference. "The bill deserves to be a clean bill."

Tiberi wasn't at the news conference because he was still on his way back to Washington, but he too has signed on to the attempt to force a vote in the House on an amendment stripping the rescue bill of some of its tax provisions.

Hobson voted for the initial House bill but said in an interview before the news conference that he is now withholding his vote on the Senate version pending the outcome of the tax-break fight.

At the news conference, Hobson called some of the tax breaks inserted into the Senate an "outrage."

Three examples of pork-barrel tax breaks listed by Hobson are: an economic-development credit to American Samoan businesses; a $10,000 tax credit for training of mine rescue-team members; and 50-percent immediate expensing for extra underground mine-safety equipment.

Ironically, Hobson is known as a proponent of congressional set-asides -- which critics call pork -- in the form of earmarked projects assigned to congressional districts by Hobson and other members of the House Appropriations Committee.

But Hobson said that in addition to the tax breaks that just need to be extended, there is a long list of provisions that have not been vetted in hearings. The appropriations committee takes the time to study earmarks and make sure they are "responsible" and "sound," Hobson said.

When the House takes up the Senate bill, however, it might not be able to consider amendments.

Hobson refused to say whether he would still vote yes if the attempt to remove some of the tax provisions he considers pork fails. That wouldn't give him much of a bargaining position, Hobson said.

Hobson and the other House Republicans trying to strip some of the tax provisions say that on the whole, the Senate version of the bill is better than the initial House version. They cited such provisions as increasing the maximum federally insured bank deposit to $250,000 from $100,000 and not forcing banks to write down assets whose value drops on paper but otherwise are debts in good standing.

Still, Hobson said he is hoping that other lawmakers who voted yes the first time around will be as mad as he is about the targeted tax breaks inserted by the Senate.

LaTourette said the group of House Republicans -- about a dozen were at the news conference -- reached out to Democrats, but none signed on to their amendment.

In addition to the removal of some tax breaks, the amendment also proposes to put more restrictions on how much and when the Treasury secretary could spend the $700 billion to buy up banks' bad debt. The group of House Republicans wants a requirement that spending more than $250 billion needs the approval of Congress. The Senate version allows more to be spent unless Congress vetoes the move.

Obama increases lead in Ohio | Economy top issue, Quinnipiac poll finds

Dragged down by the Wall Street mess, a middling debate performance and growing concerns about his running mate, Republican John McCain is falling further behind in Ohio and two other key states, a poll unveiled yesterday shows.

Democrat Barack Obama has opened up a lead of 50 percent to 42 percent in the Buckeye State in a Quinnipiac University survey taken after Friday's debate between the two senators. That's a point more than his pre-debate margin and 3 points more than his edge in the Connecticut university's poll released Sept. 11.

Obama also has stretched his lead to 15 points in Pennsylvania (up 9 from before the debate) and 8 in Florida (up 2).

Quinnipiac takes polls in the three states because no presidential candidate since 1960 has won without winning at least two of them.

Two other unrelated polls released yesterday also show Obama expanding his lead over McCain.

"It's the economy, the economy, the economy," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"The issue that has come to the fore is Obama's best issue and the numbers show that. Voters link McCain to (President) Bush, fairly or unfairly, especially on the economy. Anything that worries them about the economy is good for Obama."

Bush's approval rating in Ohio is now 24 percent.

Ohio voters rate Obama's debate performance as better than McCain's; they deem Obama's efforts to fix the Wall Street mess as more helpful than McCain's; and they give higher favorability ratings to Obama's running mate, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, than McCain's, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Currently, exactly as many Ohioans view Palin unfavorably as favorably, a sharp decline in the past three weeks. Her support among white women especially has dropped, Brown noted -- adding that all could change after tonight's vice presidential debate.

Although details of the proposed $700 billion Wall Street bailout shifted throughout the polling period, Ohioans say they oppose the plan by almost 20 percentage points.

Although Obama wins higher marks in Ohio as the candidate better able to handle the economy and the energy crisis, McCain wins across the board on foreign-policy issues, from the war in Iraq, to Israel-Iran relations, to dealing with Russia, to a possible terrorist attack in the U.S.

"What people care about right now is Wall Street and that mess," Brown said. "It focuses the agenda. And that works to Sen. Obama's benefit.

"If national security became front and center, that would help Sen. McCain's campaign."

Four demographic keys to Obama's lead: He has pulled even among male voters while maintaining a 14-point lead among women; he leads by 4 points among independents; he is losing among white, born-again evangelicals by only 2-to-1, far better than Democrats did in 2004; and he virtually has eliminated the party loyalty gap, losing only 12 percent of Democrats to McCain, who is losing 10 percent of Republicans to Obama.

In a national Associated Press-GfK poll released yesterday, Obama has surged to a 7-point lead over McCain.

In that poll, likely voters back Obama 48 percent to McCain's 41 percent, a dramatic shift from an AP-GfK survey that gave the Republican a slight edge nearly three weeks ago, before Wall Street collapsed and sent ripples across worldwide markets.

Obama leads McCain nationally 46 percent to 42 percent in a new Ipsos-McClatchy poll.

Obama's 4-point lead shows the steady if small gains he has made in that poll since Labor Day. Over four weekly surveys, he has gone from being down by 1 point to tied, up by 1 point and now up by 4.

The Quinnipiac University poll is at http://www.quinnipiac.edu/images/polling/sw/sw10012008.doc.


Second House Vote on Bailout Hinges on Whip Count, Hoyer Says

By Edward Epstein, Lydia Gensheimer and Benton Ives, CQ Staff

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer , D-Md., said leaders of both parties are working hard to pass revised financial bailout legislation Friday. But he warned he will not call up the bill until that outcome is assured.

“I have to be pretty confident we have the votes to pass this before I put it on the floor,” Hoyer told reporters Thursday. House leaders do not want to risk a second defeat of the plan, which could touch off a panic in financial markets.

He said he hoped for passage Friday. “I think there’s a good prospect of getting this done,” Hoyer said.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., called the revised bill “much improved,” and said, “We’re working hard to pass it.”

On Monday, Sept. 29, the House rejected, 205-228, the original version of the bill (HR 3997).

Negotiators went back to the drawing board and added an increase in Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. coverage for bank accounts to $250,000 per account, from $100,000. The Senate last night called up a House-passed mental health parity bill (HR 1424) and attached the modified bailout package and extensions of expired or expiring tax breaks. The Senate passed the new package by 74-25, with majorities of both parties backing the proposal.

(INSERT: Email message: Do people realize that what the Senate passed yesterday as the ostensible Wall St. bailout bill is actually HR 1424, the "Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act" which the Senate used as a vehicle for bailout provisions? This bill has been kicking around Congress since March with a whole weird mixture of funding stuff, and the Senate used it to run a vote on a Goldman Sachs welfare payment that can bankrupt the nation into the hands of Henry Paulson's very good friends in China. Somebody needs to widely publicize the irony that Paul Wellstone's name and the addiction concept are the basis for perpetuating our nation's most serious addiction - government support of corporate greed. Take a look at the history and content of HR 1424. It is an amazing exhibit of black humor. Gary Higginbottom: Portland, Maine)

Hoyer said that he still hopes the House can take up an extension of unemployment benefits for workers whose benefits will expire this month. He said “we have to get agreement” with Republicans, adding “and it would be separate from the bailout.”

President Bush again urged Congress to complete action quickly on the financial rescue package. He met with business representatives at the White House and warned of the consequences of the credit squeeze for the Main Street economy.

Bush said the Senate-passed bill “is the bill that has the best chance of providing credit, providing liquidity” to the financial system and the broader economy.

Winning Over Votes

Hoyer said he didn’t know if Democrats could produce more than the 140 votes they mustered for first bailout bill on Monday. He stressed it is up to Republicans to provide the votes needed for passage. Only 65 Republicans voted for the plan on Sept. 29, while 133 opposed it.

“We expect there to be many more Republican votes for this to pass,” he said. “We need a significantly greater number of Republicans. I don’t want to put a number on it.”

Although the Senate included tax break extensions without full offsets to pay for them, Hoyer said he doubted that move would have much impact on the Democratic vote count, even where fiscally conservative Blue Dogs are concerned.

First posted Oct. 2, 2008 12:38 p.m.

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Some House 'no' votes turning to 'yes' on bailout

Democratic and Republican leaders worked over wayward colleagues wherever they could find them.

Rep. Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking House Democrat, said there was a "good prospect" of approving the measure but stopped short of predicting passage — or even promising a vote. Nonetheless, the vote was expected on Friday. "I'm going to be pretty confident that we have sufficient votes to pass this before we put it on the floor," Hoyer said.

The top Republican vote-counter, Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, did predict the measure would be approved.

Minds were changing in both parties in favor of the much-maligned measure, which would let the government spend billions of dollars to buy bad mortgage-related securities and other devalued assets from troubled financial institutions. If the plan works, advocates say, that would allow frozen credit to begin flowing again and prevent a serious recession.

GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, said she was switching her "no" vote to a "yes" after the Senate added some $110 million in tax breaks and other sweeteners before approving the measure Wednesday night.

"Monday what we had was a bailout for Wall Street firms and not much relief for taxpayers and hard-hit families. Now we have an economic rescue package," Ros-Lehtinen told The Associated Press.

Rep. Zach Wamp of Tennessee, another of the 133 House Republicans who joined 95 Democrats Monday to reject the measure, also announced he was now onboard.Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri was switching, too, said spokesman Danny Rotert, declaring, "America feels differently today than it did on Friday about this bill."

Emboldened by the feverish bidding for votes, other members of both parties were demanding substantial changes to the legislation before they would vote for it. A group of Republican opponents indicated they'd back it if the price tag were slashed to $250 billion and several special tax breaks added by the Senate were removed. Democrats wanted to add a way to pay for the bailout and more help for homeowners staring at foreclosure.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said no, such revisions were impossible because they would slow the measure's enactment and further shake markets.

"I don't think that any changes here will do what we need to do, which is right now to send a message of confidence to the markets that Congress will act," she said.

Bachus Leaning Yes

CBS News - Sep 29 8:15 AM

Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), who want from being inside the negotiations to watching on the side, is now coordinating House Republican speeches on the floor. He had come out opposed to the bailout deal negotiated by congressional leaders. Now, he's leaning yes

Blunt’s count was 10 short

By Jackie Kucinich

Posted: 09/29/08 08:09 PM [ET]

When Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) went to the floor on Monday, he anticipated that 75 House Republicans would vote for the revamped financial rescue package.

But only 65 voted for it.

Had 75 voted yes, the rescue plan would have been within striking distance of passing the lower chamber.

Needing a dozen members to change their minds, Democratic leaders gaveled the vote to a close in a stunning development that shook the Capitol and Wall Street.

One hundred thirty-three of 198 voting Republican lawmakers joined 95 Democrats to reject the $700 billion bill that a bipartisan group of leaders from both chambers crafted over the weekend.

The Republican side of the House was not frenzied during the unsuccessful vote, despite intense lobbying from President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

Unlike the three-hour vote on the 2003 Medicare drug bill, House Republican leaders did not put much pressure on their rank-and-file members to back the rescue package.

However, sources said that Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, was told that his committee seat hung in the balance if he chose to vote against the bill. Bachus voted yes, calling it one of the most difficult votes he has ever cast.

When Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) asked Blunt on the House floor if he had five members who would switch, Blunt said he did, but he did not have the time to deliver them.

“This was one of those situations where nobody really wanted to do it on either side,” Blunt said on Monday.

All GOP leadership officials voted for the bill, except for Reps. Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.) and John Carter (Texas). But leaders didn’t strongly sell the controversial legislation.

During a closed-door meeting of members on Sunday night, Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) referred to the package crafted by House and Senate leaders as a “crap sandwich” but said it was necessary to vote for it to save the economy from a potentially crippling economic crisis. During his floor speech on Monday, Boehner called the bill “awful” but necessary.

Conference politics also ran amok during the week as members jockeyed for position in anticipation of leadership races for the next Congress.

Leadership officials blasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for the failure of the bill, claiming her floor address was filled with partisan barbs and forced some Republicans to vote no.

But other Republicans disagreed strongly with that assertion, which was mocked by Democrats as false and petty.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said the GOP leadership comments were untrue, asserting that House Republicans voted against the bill because of its contents.

“We’re not babies who suck our thumbs,” Bachmann said at a press conference after the vote.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Texas), the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee who has triggered speculation that he will mount a leadership bid, was one of the first members to publicly reject the revised rescue plan.

Hensarling appeared at the press conference with Bachmann, as well as other Republicans who voted no, including Reps. Scott Garrett (N.J.), Steve King (Iowa), Trent Franks (Ariz.) and Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.).

Behind closed doors, sources said Hensarling was uncompromising on the cost of the bailout, and that led to a tense exchange with House Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

Boehner saw even his closest allies reject his pleas to support the bill — including McCotter, Reps. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio), Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) and freshman Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), whom Boehner tapped earlier in the year to head up the Republican Platform Committee.

“Boehner understands,” McCotter said, adding that the GOP leader knew members would have to vote their conscience.

Meanwhile, several members of Blunt’s whip team also rejected the bill.

Many of the top GOP committee members voted yes. Ranking members who backed the measure included Reps. Bachus, Tom Davis (Va.), David Dreier (Calif.), Vernon Ehlers (Mich.), Pete King (N.Y.), Jerry Lewis (Calif.), Jim McCrery (La.), Buck McKeon (Calif.) and Paul Ryan (Wis.).

Keep This In Mind Tonight!

Vice Presidential Succession Is Not So Unusual
By ALeonard
Nixon’s second term after Nixon resigned rather than face an impeachment trial in the Senate in 1974. Thus, a Vice President was suddenly called into service as President on average once every twenty years during the twentieth century. ...
Leonard Link - http://newyorklawschool.typepad.com/leonardlink/