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Deal helps shoot down $700 billion bailout plan

POSTED: October 3, 2008 5:01 a.m.

U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Gainesville, was among the members of the House voting Monday to defeat a $700 billion emergency rescue package.

The vote came despite urgent pleas from President Bush and bipartisan congressional leaders to quickly bail out the staggering financial industry.

Stocks plummeted on Wall Street even before the 228-205 vote to reject the bill was announced on the House floor.

When the critical vote was tallied, too few members of the House were willing to support the unpopular measure with elections just five weeks away. Ample "no" votes came from both the Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle.

Among them was Deal, who said he could not support the measure.

"There had been no real objective outside testimony on the bill," Deal said, "only what the administration and those who were favoring the legislation wanted us to hear."

Deal said he had heard from economists and others who advised against the legislation. He said there are actions that could be taken by the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission that would have relieved some of the pressure on financial institutions.

The Gainesville Republican joined 11 of Georgia's 13 House members in voting against the $700 billion emergency rescue of the nation's financial system.

Democrats Sanford Bishop and Jim Marshall were the lone Georgia representatives to vote for the plan.
The rest of the House's Georgia delegation - four Democrats and seven Republicans - voted against the plan.

The measure failed despite urging warnings from President Bush and congressional leaders of both parties that the economy could nosedive without it. Stocks plummeted on Wall Street even before vote to reject the bill was officially announced on the House floor.

Bush and a host of leading congressional figures had implored the lawmakers to pass the legislation despite howls of protest from their constituents back home.

The overriding question for congressional leaders was what to do next. Congress has been trying to adjourn so that its members can go out and campaign. And with only five weeks left until Election Day, there was no clear indication of whether the leadership would keep them in Washington. Leaders were huddling after the vote to figure out their next steps.

A White House spokesman said President Bush was "very disappointed."


"There's no question that the country is facing a difficult crisis that needs to be addressed," Tony Fratto told reporters. He said the president will be meeting with members of his team later in the day "to determine next steps."


Deal predicted the House will come back into session on Thursday.
"I think they will try and come back with something else, but it will suffer the same criticism that it is being done in a short period of time by a handful of people," Deal said.

A Georgia economist, Roger Tutterow of Mercer University, told The Times that the cry of urgency for action may be getting quiet.


"A week ago, when this came to the forefront, the argument was something had to be done in a couple of days or the financial system was going to implode," Tutterow said. "The longer this drags out, the less the argument about the shorter fuse becomes viable."


The congressman said the drop on Wall Street that followed the vote may have been the market trying to "send a message."


"Some of that may have been from those who thought they were going to get bailed out at taxpayer expense," Deal said.

Meanwhile, Georgia's two U.S. senators weighed in on the House action.

"Obviously the House vote today puts everything in a state of uncertainty and complicates the issue of whether or not the Senate will vote on a financial rescue plan, and I am certainly concerned about the way the markets have responded to today's vote," said U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said the bailout is the most important issue in a half-century.

"Doing nothing is unacceptable," Isakson said. "I hope cooler heads will come to the table so we can move forward with a proposal that is in the best interests of the American people, their savings and their future."



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