The massive margin of victory for the Senate's bailout bill wasn't a huge surprise, given how much horse-trading went on to round up support. (I'm sure it helped that neither presidential candidate arrived in the city to "save" the bill until the night of the vote.) Nine Democrats and battlin' Bernie Sanders opposed the bill from the left, 15 Republicans opposed it from the right, and the rest of the GOP conference, on order of its leadership, caved in and voted for the bill.
Tom Coburn (R-OK), the biggest and most headline-grabbing cave-man, employs some just-this-once-and-never-again reasoning.
This bill does not represent a new and sudden departure from free market principles as much as it represents an emergency response to congressional actions that have ignored free market principles, and our Constitution, for decades. If anyone in Washington should offer their resignation it should be the members of Congress who peddled the fantasy of free home ownership without risk. No institution in our country is more responsible for the myth or borrowing without consequences than the United States Congress.
Taxpayers who want to ensure that this doesn't happen again should send a very clear message to Washington that it's time for Congress to live within its means and restore the principles of limited government and free markets that made this country great. I will do everything in my power to ensure that this bill does not lead us down a slippery slope of European style socialism and slow economic growth
John Sununu (R-NH), in a tight re-election race, says the same thing but with a wee bit more optimism.
This bill is far from perfect, but it is necessary, and necessary now to protect all Americans. Negotiators, led by Senator Judd Gregg and others, have worked hard to improve taxpayer protections that I have called for from the start: better Congressional oversight, a temporary structure, and assurances that any gains will be used to pay down the national debt. Expanding the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporations coverage adds an important level of security and confidence for the small businesses that are the lifeblood of New Hampshire's economy. [E]xtending tax incentives and research and development will encourage renewed investment and job creation.
Lamar Alexander (R-TN) says it was all an unavoidable response to a potential disaster.
What we are trying to do is prevent a more serious problem by taking a measured response, which will cost the taxpayers the least amount of money and clear up the economic traffic so we can start moving again, and so housing can gradually begin to come back. When housing gradually begins to come back, the economy will begin to come back.
And Larry Craig (R-ID), still a senator for three more months, explains that the bill was imperfect but included a sweetener that made it impossible to resist.
Doing nothing is not an option, and I would have voted for the original House bill supported by Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, because it protected taxpayers, eliminated golden parachutes for greedy CEOs, and gave Congress the authority to end this rescue if it is not serving the taxpayers and the economy. But the bill approved by the Senate tonight goes a step farther by fully funding the Craig/Wyden 'county payments' program to rural schools for four years, with a 75 percent increase for Idaho schools, and by protecting middle class taxpayers this year from the burden of the Alternative Minimum Tax.