Lawmakers quickly point fingers after bailout fails

By: CNN
By: CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill immediately blamed each other for the failure of a $700 billion bailout package in the House on Monday.

Republican leaders speak to reporters on Monday after the bailout bill failed to pass.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said there would be no revote on the bill on Monday because members had left the Capitol.

It was unclear in what form the congressional leadership would bring the bill back to the House floor.

The stock market immediately dipped hundreds of points after it became apparent that the bill would fail. The Dow closed down 777 points at the end of trading Monday.

The package, which was backed by both the Democratic and Republican congressional leadership as well as President Bush, failed in the House by a vote of 228-205.

A majority of Democrats voted for the bill. A majority of Republicans voted against it. The Republican vote was more than 2-1 against the bill.

After the vote, President Bush was "disappointed" that the House failed to pass the bailout, saying, "We put forward a plan that was big because we got a big problem." Watch a White House spokesman describe the president's reaction »

"Our strategy is to continue to address this economic situation head on. We'll be working to develop a strategy," Bush said.

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Bush said he planned to meet with his advisers and will be calling congressional leaders Monday afternoon.

When the gavel came down, the members on the floor were nearly silent. Democratic members immediately met in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office after the vote. Republican members went into the office of Boehner, the top Republican in the House.

The Republican House leadership blamed Pelosi, saying she gave a partisan speech before the vote that alienated House Republicans. Watch Pelosi say the Democrats delivered »

While thanking Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson for negotiating on the bill, Pelosi said on the House floor that the Democrats had insisted that the bill "protect the American people and Main Street from the meltdown on Wall Street."

Pelosi also said the cost of the bailout "is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush administration's failed economic policies -- policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything-goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision and no discipline in the system."

After the vote, Boehner said, "Americans are angry, and so are my colleagues. They don't want to have to vote for a bill like this, and I understand that." Watch Boehner blame Pelosi »

"I think that we need to renew our efforts to find a solution that Congress can support. I do believe that we could have gotten there today had it not been for this partisan speech that the speaker gave on the floor of the House," he said.

But Democrats dismissed the Republican complaints, saying the Republican leadership failed to convince their members to support the bill.

"They lost 2-1 on their own side, voting against their president, their presidential candidate and against every leader in their own party," one Democratic source said.

Pelosi said the Democrats lived up their side of the bargain. "We've entered into those conversations in a spirit of bipartisanship, with the understanding that each side would have half of our votes to pass the bill," she said.

"Today, when the legislation came to the floor, the Democratic side more than lived up to its side of the bargain," she added. "While the legislation may have failed, the crisis is still with us."

Rep. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who was a key negotiator of the bill, said Republican leaders were blaming Pelosi because they were embarrassed that they failed to get a majority of the Republicans to vote for the bill. Watch Frank say the GOP 'punished' the country »

"There's a terrible crisis affecting the American economy. We have come together on a bill to alleviate the crisis," Frank said. "And because somebody hurt their feelings they decide to punish the country? I mean, I would not have imputed that degree of pettiness and hypersensitivity."

Before the vote, many House Republicans expressed opposition to the bill, saying it departed from free market principles. Republican congressional aides also said calls from constituents were running 10 to 1 against the legislation.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a conservative Texas Republican, said before the vote, "The relevant test is, when you look at the good in the bill, when you look at the bad in the bill -- does it take America in a direction that you believe America should go? By that test, Madam Speaker, I will vote no on this legislation.

"I fear that ultimately it may not work. I fear that it is too much bailout and not enough work out. I fear that taxpayers may end up inheriting the mother of all debts," he added.

Another Republican called on members to vote their conscience.

"Ask yourselves why you came here and vote with courage and integrity to those principles. If, like me, you came here because you believe in limited government and the freedom of the American marketplace, I urge you vote in accordance with your convictions," Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, said.

"Stand up for limited government and economic freedom. Stand up for the American taxpayer. Reject this bailout and vote no on the emergency economic stabilization act," he said.


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