Monday, September 29, 2008

Bailout vote: Joe Garcia would have voted yes, Raul Martinez and Annette Taddeo no

An interesting split among our three Democratic challengers for the U.S. House in South Florida.

For starters, all three Republican rubber-stamp incumbents voted no on the bailout bill, which failed with both parties split bigtime. The vote was 228-205. Voting no were 133 Republicans and 95 Democrats. Yes were 140 Democrats and 65 Republicans.

UPDATE: Let's pause and read what the Obama campaign said about this trainwreck:

“This is a moment of national crisis, and today’s inaction in Congress as well as the angry and hyper-partisan statement released by the McCain campaign are exactly why the American people are disgusted with Washington. Now is the time for Democrats and Republicans to join together and act in a way that prevents an economic catastrophe. Every American should be outraged that an era of greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street and Washington has led us to this point, but now that we are here, the stability of our entire economy depends on us taking immediate action to ease this crisis,” said Obama-Biden campaign spokesman Bill Burton.

Both Annette Taddeo, challenging Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in FL-18, and Raul Martinez, challenging Lincoln Diaz-Balart in FL-21, issued statements before the vote saying they opposed the bill before Congress.

Joe Garcia, running against Mario Diaz-Balart in FL-25, told this blogger he was reluctantly in favor of the bill that failed.

“I thought it was a bad bill but I would have voted for it. I think there will be a better bill when it comes back,” he said.

“The Democrats did the hard thing, and we’re going to get nailed for it.” Asked about the many Democrats who voted against the bill, he said, “They’re scared. They didn’t create this, and are asked to pay for it.”

Again, on all the Republican no votes, Garcia said, “They’re not willing to pay for the mess they created. They broke it but are not willing to buy it.”

Garcia noted that all three Republican incumbents in South Florida voted against the bill, and called it a failure of leadership. The real estate crunch was evident in South Florida months ago, he said. “But the Republicans hid and took the easy route.”

Annette Taddeo’s statement was featured on DailyKos Monday morning and I quote it here.

MIAMI, FL – Annette Taddeo, candidate for Congress in Florida's 18th district, this morning released the following statement expressing opposition to the bailout legislation moving through Congress:

"We must protect homeowners and taxpayers. This bill fails to address the collapsing housing market, the root cause of the crisis. I do not support spending $700 billion in taxpayer money on a flawed bill. I call on Democrats in Congress and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to draft legislation that protects the people and families of South Florida."

"While the proposed bill is a start, it is not complete until homeowners and taxpayers are protected, and there are mechanisms in place to assure proper oversight so this does not happen again."

"As a small-businesswoman and Past-Chair of the Coalition of Greater Miami-Dade Chambers of Commerce, I know what our economy needs to right itself. Congress should send President Bush a bill that includes real protections for homeowners and taxpayers."

Raul Martinez issued this statement:

"The Diaz-Balart/Bush economic policies have failed and the country is worse off. The same people who rushed us to war in Iraq and rushed us into a stimulus bill that has not worked are trying to rush us into another bad idea.

"The proposed ‘bailout’ by the Bush Administration to be voted on today in Congress does not do enough to ensure that the middle class, the people who are truly being hit hard by tough economic times, will be sufficiently helped by this legislation. Hard-working South Floridians, many who are struggling to escape home foreclosure, have not received enough support from Congress to help them stay in their homes. The mortgage crisis is the root cause of this problem and it has not been addressed sufficiently.

"Any bailout should be directly targeted at homeowners, have strict accountability, conflict-of-interest, regulatory and oversight rules attached, including a hard cap on executive compensation and stock warrants for the rescuing taxpayers."

"The Bush Administration is seeking an unprecedented power grab to address the mess that they created. The Treasury Secretary would be largely unrestricted in his ability to spend $700 billion of taxpayer money at a cost of about $2,300 to every man, woman and child in America."

Mayor Martinez proposed the following suggestions:
• Work directly with people that were affected and lost their homes. Not with people that committed fraud, but individuals that got swept into the craze of owning their own home.
• Prevent more foreclosures by negotiating with owners and banks to buy those loans at a discount (the actual value of their homes).
• Require that the net gain of any sale or transfer of the property within the next 10 years, for those homeowners who are being helped, be shared with the government 50/50.
• Create public works jobs so these people will be able to pay for their mortgages.
• Place a cap on the amount of the mortgage.
• Only those people who live on the property will be allowed to participate (Homesteaded properties only).
• Interest rate for new loans will have to carry a low interest rate of about 4-5%.
• People that need to refinance to avoid problems in the future can participate.
• Homes that have been foreclosed could be bought by a first time homebuyer who can participate in the program. Also, any new buyer could obtain a property as long as a new appraisal is done.
• Do away with predatory lending.
• Bring back tight regulations for banks and investment houses
• Regulate hedge funds to make sure that the leverage financing is controlled.
• Stop short selling in the stock market.
• Prohibit speculation on oil.

For the record, your blogger was somewhere around Joe Garcia’s position. I figured the bill was flawed (aren’t all bills flawed?) but was pretty well convinced that something had to be done. What, exactly? That question is above my pay grade.

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