- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 1, 2008

If you want a reason as to why the financial bailout bill failed Monday, look no further than the upcoming elections:

Almost all of the House lawmakers who find themselves in tough re-elections voted against the $700 billion bill.

Of the 41 lawmakers seeking re-election who are considered the most vulnerable in rankings by CQ Politics and Rothenberg Political Report rankings, 32 of them, or 78 percent, voted against the bailout. That’s 25 percentage points higher than the House as a whole, where 53 percent voted against the bill, delivering a stinging defeat to George+W.+Bush” >President Bush and congressional leaders of both parties.

Republicans in tough races were overwhelmingly opposed, with 17 of 20 opposing the bailout, but Democrats were only slightly less unified, with 15 of the 21 lawmakers on the lists voting against the bill.

So many angry voters sent e-mails Monday that the House Web site was disrupted, and lawmakers who voted against the bill said they were responding to their constituents’ concerns.

Rep. Nancy Boyda, Kansas Democrat, labeled the package the “Bush bailout” and said $700 billion was too high a price tag for a risky option that might not work; Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona Democrat, said the bill didn’t do enough to protect taxpayers; and Rep. Don Cazayoux, Louisiana Democrat, said it amounted to leaving “American taxpayers liable for the excesses of Wall Street.”

On the Republican side, it was difficult to find a Republican in danger who did vote for the bill. One who did, Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut, said he knew voters took a dim view of the bill.

“Most of my constituents consider this a bailout. Some of them, in fact, are willing to walk bread lines in order to see wealthy Wall Street tycoons pay for their greed. The fact is, that would be irresponsible,” he said on the House floor before the vote.

He feared $700 billion wasn’t enough and also called for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insurance limit to be raised above the $100,000 level - something all sides appeared to agree on Tuesday, which could win over some lawmakers.

One Democrat who did vote for the bill was Rep. Dennis Moore of Kansas. Although he has been targeted by the Republicans, his seat is not considered especially vulnerable.

In a statement after the vote, he argued the bill was a bipartisan effort supported by Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain and a host of business groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“I voted for this bipartisan compromise because it took the necessary steps to protect American taxpayers,” he said.

But his Republican opponent, Nick Jordan, blasted Mr. Moore and even tried to tie him to President Bush, arguing that a $700 billion price tag was too much for taxpayers.

“From Dennis Moore to George Bush, Washington ‘politics as usual’ is not getting the job done,” Mr. Jordan said in a statement.

The vulnerable lawmakers were compiled from those either the Rothenberg Political Report or CQ Politics ranked as in races where they were likely to lose their seats, were in tossup races or were only slightly favored in their re-election battles.