Maine senators call for passage of a revised bailout plan

Posted Oct. 01, 2008, at 10 a.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 6:18 a.m.

WASHINGTON — Maine’s two U.S. senators called Tues-day for the approval of a revised bailout plan after law-makers in the House defeated the legislation by a 228-205 vote on Monday.

“Our nation is facing a dire economic crisis,” Republican Sen. Susan Collins said in a statement. “I am disappointed that a day following the U.S. House’s failure to pass legislation to address this issue, an agreement has yet to be reached on compromise legislation that will pass the House.”

The senator said that Congress must stay in Washington until an agreement is reached and the legislation has been passed.

President Bush warned Tuesday that the economic damage would last and be even worse if the financial rescue plan were not passed.

After the House rejected the plan Monday, fear spread among investors and the Dow Jones industrial plunged 777 points, the most ever for a single day. On Tuesday the market rebounded with the Dow gaining 485 points after it appeared there would be an effort to revive the emergency rescue plan.

Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe said in a statement, “At a time of tremendous economic peril in this country, it is regrettable the bipartisan process has broken down.”

Both senators said the eco-nomic crisis had already af-fected Maine as shown by the recent inability of the state to sell a $50 million transportation bond that would be used to make critical transportation improvements and create as many as 1,700 jobs.

“I find it unconscionable that unchecked greed and a stun-ning lack of oversight has re-sulted in the economic calamity we face today,” Snowe said.

On Tuesday, Senate leaders of both parties vowed to work toward agreement on the bail-out plan.

Snowe and Collins both emphasized the need for strong protections for taxpayers, availability of critical credit, tough oversight and account-ability of financial markets, and restrictions on executive compensation.

Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud, who voted against the bailout bill, said in a telephone interview that the plan put forth by Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson did not really address the problem.

“Over the last 10 days, I sought a lot of input from economists, banking regulators, the former FDIC chair-man, and I was convinced that voting for the Paulson proposal would not offer banking institutions the capital that they need to free up the frozen mar-kets,” Michaud said.

He said the revision of the bailout plan should include raising the $100,000 federal insurance on bank deposits and more details on how taxpayer money will be recouped.

Before the vote on Monday, Michaud’s offices received more than 2,000 phone calls and emails, about 90 percent of which opposed the bailout, according to Monica Castellanos, the congressman’s press secretary.

Democratic Rep. Thomas Allen, who voted for the plan, said in a statement that “it is im-perative that Congress act responsibly to prevent any fur-ther deterioration to the financial underpinnings of our economy.”

He said that the failed bailout plan was not perfect, but it was an improvement over the original proposal.

“I will continue to work with members of Congress from both parties to build consensus and pass this critically important legislation,” Allen said.

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