How are the House Republicans blocking this bailout?

My wife asked me to explain to her how 199 people in a body of 435 (434, actually) could block this piece of legislation. The Dems hold a 54% majority.

I couldn’t explain it, because I have no idea myself.


It’s a matter of politics. The Democrats don’t want to go out on a limb supporting a Wall-St bank bailout without forcing the Republicans to come along as well. Otherwise, even though the Democrats will be doing what was necessary, the Republicans could campaign against the bailout and them.

The key R’s at the meeting to reach agreement on the terms to be included in the bill to be voted on by the Senators and the Representative held out for inclusion/exclusion of certain provisions in the final legislation. “Stonewalling?”

No agreement, No legislative bill, No vote.

Yeah, but the Republican administration and Republican Senate back it, so there’s your bi-paritsan agreement. The Dems have the numbers to pass it through the House-- they’ll even pick up some Republican votes there, I’m sure.

President supports it, House Dems support it, Senate Dems support it, Senate Repubs support it, Obama supports it.

The only two major parties that don’t are McCain and House Repubs. I still don’t see what’s holding this up.

I can kind of understand the politics angle, but this already has bi-partisan support. Even taking out the lame-duck Bush, Senate Repubs have gotten behind it. Would it be impossible for the majority leadership to find some rogue House Repubs publcially come out in support of it?

For the record, and to pre-emptively curb any partisan accusations, I’m simply asking for an understanding here; I’m not trying to debate. :slight_smile:

Well, the most factual answer is the Democratic leadership of Congress has decided they want more support from the Republicans before the bailout bill is brought to a vote. Maybe someone paying closer attention can dig up a quote or two.

It’s also worth noting the possibilty that not all the Democratic members of the House support this bill. Just as not all the Republican members oppose it in its current form. Say 20% of the Democratic members oppose the bill, and a like number of Republican Representatives are not assured of following the Republican leadership. That leaves the Democratic leadership sure of only 189 votes. (0.8 of 236 votes) Which is not a sure majority. If they get the Republican leadership into the vote, even if a similar fraction of the Republicans ‘vote their conscience’ they’ll be assured of having enough votes to have a majority.

I don’t know how firm the support for this bill is among the Democratic delegation, but I’d be shocked if it’s 100%.

ETA: By going for a bill that the Republican leadership will support, the Democratic leaders are seeking the least amount of tweaking to be assured of having a healthy majority for this bill.

It is not just the House. A number of Democratic Senators have flat out said that they will not vote for a bill that John McCain doesn’t vote for.

Basically, they all think, that while much the lesser evil, this bailout will nonetheless have strong negative consequences politically. The Dems don’t want to take this nasty medicine unless the Pubs are willing to do so as well. The Dems don’t want to be demonized for doing the right thing.(as they see it)

If the Bill is going to pass anyway, there is no great risk in voting against it. You can’t be said to have “blocked” it. If it works out, you can still claim that cheaper solutions were available. If it doesn’t you can crow about how you tried to stop it.

Mods: I really tried to explain a political situation without injecting politics. If I failed, I appologize in advance and will take my medicine like a good boy.