Archive for September 28th, 2008
The back and forth over the Washington bailout debate can be very confusing. The very intricate discussion about the country’s financial system, and the involved options congressional officials are proposing, is a lot to try and get a handle on by itself. But on top of that, is a very complex bit of strategy being used to wield the power of parliamentary procedure in the halls of congress.
In order to pass the package, in needs enough votes in the Senate, the House and be signed by the President. It was the President’s idea, so he is on board, and enough Republicans and Democrats have agreed to move forward in the Senate. The problem comes in the House. The Democratic majority supports the original plan, or a reasonable faximille their of. In fact if the bill was brought to the floor, they probably have enough votes for it to pass. However, the Democratic leadership in the house wants what they call a “bi-partisan” plan. That means they want a healthy number of House Republicans to vote for the bill, so it is viewed as something that had broad support.
There are any number of reasons that the Democrats refuse to bring the bill forward without the Republican support. One could be that they want speculators on Wall Street to believe that it is the best possible plan to rescue the failing credit market and by having a broad spectrum of support, investors will again put their money back into the market to get things moving again. On the other side, a cynic may say that Democrats want Republicans to vote for the plan so that when it fails, the blame is shared equally. You can make that decision for yourself.
Regardless, this scenario has put the ball in the hands of a small group of House Republicans, who for the most part, are the weakest group of lawmakers in Washington. But because they are the only ones not on board, they are the ones who have a chance to put their imprint on this bill.
Enter Eric Cantor. The longtime member of Republican House Leadership, Cantor has become an important deal maker on behalf of the fiscally conservative wing of the Republican house. Last night, it appeared that a “deal in principle” was reached by the players involved, but this morning on CNN, Cantor said his fellow Republicans weren’t on board just yet.
Cantor said that his collegues still have some concern that the proposed mortgage insurance option is exactly where they want it to be.
Expect Cantor to be one of the main people involved in this discussion before a deal is finally reached.