Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What now?

Well no floor votes for a day and a half at least, since Congress is in recess due to Rosh Hashanah. The Senate returns Wednesday afternoon and the House returns Thursday morning. Presumably there will be behind the scenes machinations... but to what end?

ABC is reporting four options being bandied about... only the 4th is really that attractive:
...one other unlikely option talked about on Capitol Hill is to try to pass the bill almost entirely with the Democratic majority in the House. That would require adding a major stimulus package favored by Democrats, infrastructure spending, unemployment insurance spending, and heating and food stamp assistance for low-income Americans.
The argument for the current attempt to craft a bipartisan solution was so that nobody ended up "owning" an unpopular piece of legislation. Then they say they "held their noses and voted for it for the good of the country, yada, yada." Well, Boehner, Bush, and McCain couldn't deliver the votes they promised... so why should Dems hold their nose at all? Or worse, try and buy off 12 GOP votes with something ridiculous like a capital gains tax holiday or something?

I guess it depends on what the ideology behind the "Nay" votes among was Democrats, and other than the bipartisan "I don't want to lose my job" vote, it's not entirely clear what the deal was. Both Progressives and Blue Dogs didn't vote as coalitions(roughly 50-50 each I think), so there doesn't seem to be much of a consensus.

The thing is, that after the Dow lost 777 points yesterday, I'm betting the bailout is getting a lot more popular among the American people... and if the GOP gets justly blamed for the failure yesterday... they're going to cave and something like the original plan will get passed with some minor modifications.

Robert Reich prediction actually sounds kind of nice:
A scaled-down bill will be enacted by the end of the week. It will provide the Treasury with a first installment of $150 billion. Treasury can use it to back Wall Street’s bad debts with lend no-interest loans of up to two years, until the housing market rebounds. Or to invest in Wall Street houses directly, in exchange for stocks and stock warrants. There will be strict oversight. Congressional leaders will promise further installments, but with conditions calling for limits on salaries and relief to distressed homeowners.
Not so bad really.

Well stay tuned.

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