A strange collection of House bedfellows united Monday to defeat the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 on a 228-205 vote.
Conservative Republicans objected to this massive government intervention into the free market, while liberal Democrats objected to bailing out Wall Street executives rather than struggling homeowners and working families.
Representatives Barbara Lee, Pete Stark and Lynn Woolsey — arguably the most liberal lawmakers in what's arguably the nation's most liberal region — epitomized the latter camp, voting against the bill while the rest of the Bay Area's House delegation voted for it.
Here's what some of them said in statements released by their offices.
YES: Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, a former Wall Street investment banker: "I am angry and frustrated that Congress had to consider this rescue plan in the first place. We should have never gotten to this point. But it is more important how we move forward to deal with this crisis. I will continue to work to protect Main Street and bring greater oversight to Wall Street."
NO: Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland: "First, it does little to address the underlying problem — the foreclosure crisis. We need a moratorium on foreclosures and bankruptcy reform to help people stay in their homes. Second, this bill should be paid for by the high-flying industry that created this problem. Seven-hundred billion dollars should not be given to Wall Street and the Bush Administration unless those who cause this mess pay for it. We should also prohibit the tax deductibility — and my bill the Income Equity Act (HR3876) would do this across the board — of executive compensation in any company where the highest paid corporate officer is paid more than 25 times the pay of a bailed-out company's lowest-paid worker."
YES: House Education & Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez: "I voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act today to head off what could be one of the worst financial crises to face our country. ... We had an agreement on the bill between the House and Senate and the White House. More than half of the Democratic Caucus was committed to voting for this bill. It was our understanding that half of the House Republicans would support it, as well. Democrats lived up to our end of the bargain — in fact two-thirds of our members voted for the bill. House Republicans did not deliver enough votes (Monday) — in fact, only one-third of House Republicans supported the president's bill."
NO: Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont: "President Bush tells us we must inject $700 billion into this market to avoid a total meltdown. He and (Treasury) Secretary Paulson say it is the only answer. Many economists — who don't have a financial stake in Wall Street or an eight-year record of bad decisions — tell us it isn't the only choice. An option would be to assist homeowners with their mortgage payments. By making sure these mortgages remain viable, the market should stabilize."
YES: Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton: "Today's vote was not about bailing out Wall Street, it was about protecting ordinary Americans and preventing the gears of economy from seizing up. If credit markets freeze, it means families won't be able to take out basic home and car loans, students won't be able to get affordable college loans, small businesses won't be able to make their payrolls, and credit card interest rates will soar. Although far from perfect, the plan had many provisions which I felt justified its passage, including: protection of American taxpayers, assistance for families facing the prospect of foreclosure, and limits on executive pay."
YES: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco: "Democrats believe in the free market, which can and does create jobs, wealth, and capital, but left to its own devices it has created chaos. That chaos is the dismal picture painted by Treasury Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke a week and a half ago in the Capitol. As they pointed out, we confront a crisis of historic magnitude that has the ability to do serious injury not simply to our economy, but to the American people: not just to Wall Street, but to everyday Americans on Main Street."
NO: Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma: "Where is the comprehensive economic stimulus package that will assist 95 percent of the taxpayers — a package that includes unemployment benefits, food stamps, infrastructure investment, and, of course, foreclosure relief? Stability should come from the bottom up. We need an economic package that will allow those in foreclosure to pay their mortgages and stay in their homes, bringing value back to the mortgage-backed securities that are clogging the financial system."
YES: Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto: "This is as tough a vote as any I've ever taken during my time in Congress. Today, I will vote yes because I believe we've shaped a good bill which is fair to taxpayers and it is a plan to address the many critical issues plaguing the U.S. financial system. Having said this, I know that no legislation is perfect; it is a product of human beings. But doing nothing I believe is a higher risk to our country and would hurt millions of Americans across the nation."
— Compiled by Josh Richman
Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced -- Yes
Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto -- Yes
Mike Honda, D-Campbell -- Yes
Barbara Lee, D-Oakland -- No
Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose -- Yes
Jerry McNerney,D-Pleasanton -- Yes
George Miller, D-Martinez -- Yes
Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco -- Yes
Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo -- Yes
Pete Stark, D-Fremont -- No
Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo -- Yes
Lynn Woolsey, D-Santa Rosa -- No