5 Reasons Pols Dissed the Bailout

A bad sell, partisan wrangling, and an urge to be reelected led to bill's downfall: Pershing
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2008 6:08 PM CDT
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi listens to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer after the House of Representatives voted down the financial bailout package.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – House members were only given a chance to salvage the world economy—why do it? There are several reasons why 95 Democrats and 133 Republicans turned down Henry Paulson's $700 billion bailout plan, Ben Pershing writes in the Washington Post. The simplest? “A lot of members just didn't like the bill." Here are Pershing's top five reasons why it failed:

  • A weak sell: The White House failed to emphasize that the price tag could be less than $700 billion. And it sought too much power without oversight.
  • Political survival: Why would lawmakers vote for an unpopular measure?
  • Lack of leadership: None of America's major politicians, from President Bush to Barack Obama, pulled levers to make sure it passed.
  • Principles: Conservatives hated regulating Wall Street; liberals saw a Bush power grab.
  • Party lines: Right before the vote, Nancy Pelosi gave a speech blaming Bush, which peeved red-state politicians.