WASHINGTON – With the House likely to vote today on the financial rescue plan, Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud, who voted against the plan Monday, said Thursday he was undecided about how to vote on the Senate-approved version.
“We have a long way to go,” Michaud said in an interview. “The fact is that this is being rushed. [Treasury Secretary Henry] Paulson and [Federal Reserve Chairman Ben] Bernanke said we have to get things through. Anytime we try to move with the fear factor, we don’t get good legislation.”
Democratic Rep. Tom Allen, who voted for the bill on Monday, said he will support the new version, and he urged House approval.
In a statement on Thursday, Allen said though he supported many of the changes the Senate made to the legislation, he regretted so many were added.
“I do not believe it was necessary to laden this particular bill with unrelated measures,” Allen said. “Many of the provisions added by the Senate could have and should have been considered separately on their own merits.”
“It is imperative that Congress act responsibly to prevent any further deterioration to the financial underpinnings of our economy,” he said. “The plan the House rejected on Monday was not perfect, but it was a vast improvement over the proposal President Bush submitted.”
In addition to giving $700 billion to the Treasury secretary to buy troubled assets from banks, establishing an oversight board and authorizing safety measures for taxpayers, the Senate-approved version of the bill includes $111 million in energy-related and other tax breaks and a one-year increase in the cap on government deposit insurance from $100,000 to $250,000 per account.
It also would provide relief from the alternative minimum tax and authorize $8 billion in tax relief for those hit by natural disasters in the Midwest, Texas and Louisiana.
Michaud said he was pleased the Senate version includes the deposit insurance increase, but still had concerns about the overall plan. He criticized the Senate’s move to attach the tax package to the financial rescue plan.
“The tax package should not be included; this has nothing to do with the issue,” he said. “These are more unfunded measures that would put a burden on future generations.”
Michaud said he would like to see provisions ensuring that taxpayers would recoup from the financial market and that the government act to address relief for homeowners from the mortgage crunch.
“We have to put that in there,” Michaud said.
He said he was scheduled to meet with the Democratic caucus and with House leaders on Thursday evening to discuss possible changes to the Senate version.
“I am still waiting to hear from the leadership,” Michaud said. “The other question is what bill would it be? The Democratic leadership has not made any comments. It could be the same bill [as the Senate version] or another.”