Hulshof votes no on bailout bill
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Hulshof votes no on bailout bill

Date: September 29, 2008
By: Sarah D. Wire
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Republican candidate for governor Congressman Kenny Hulshof voted no on Monday's U.S.House of Representatives vote on the $700 billion plan to bailout the U.S. financial system, which ultimately failed with a vote of 228-205.

Stocks plunged on Wall Street following the vote, with the DOW losing 777 points. Nasdaq dropped 9.1 percent and the S&P fell 8.8 percent.

Scott Callicott, a spokesman for Hulshof's Congressional office, said Hulshof felt the bill was excessive and gave too much power to Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Henry Paulson.

"Well the price tag of the bill is excessive and he just felt that some other options could have been looked at along the way," Callicott said.

Callicott said the plan provided no short term fixes, only long term solutions.

Scott Baker, spokesperson for Hulshof's gubernatorial campaign, said the plan "doesn't make the necessary changes to make sure we don't end up right back here again."

Baker said Hulshof would prefer a plan with better safeguards for tax payers and more balance in governmental authority to spend money.

Spokesman for Democratic candidate for governor state Attorney General Jay Nixon's campaign, Oren Shur, said "in Washington Congressman Hulshof helped create the economic mess we find ourselves in now but Jay Nixon is focused on the people struggling in Missouri." 

Hulshof's vote got a defense from his opponent in the primaries Republican State Treasurer Sarah Steeleman who said she wouldn't have voted for the bill either because it moved too fast and did not resolve the larger institutional problems.

"As far as the investment holdings that the state has we don't have any exposure to those financial institutions that are in trouble but the ramifications from the economy are going to be great, and they're not just from the actions that we've seen occurring in the last week," Steeleman said.

Steeleman has a economics degree from MU.

Both the Democratic candidate for President, Senator Barack Obama and Republican candidate, Senator John McCain had given tentative approval of the plan. President George W. Bush gave full support for the bill and warned of an economic crisis if it did not pass.

Missouri's congressional delegation was split 5-4 in opposition of the plan, and did not split along party lines.

Congress will reconvene Thursday following the stock market's reaction to the day's events, said Danny Rotert, spokesman for Democrat Congressman Emanuel Cleaver from Kansas City. He said the new bill should focus on consumer protection over bank protection.

"Today the stock market tumbling gives everybody a little bit more urgency as to why we need to do this it's just now figuring out the how," Rotert said.

Rotert said Cleaver feels the bailout plan is the most important piece of legislation for the House of Representatives to pass since 1930 and that legislation that large should not pass as a one party bill. He said the vote showed there is not yet consensus on the legislation.

Congresswoman JoAnn Emerson from southwest Missouri, one of two Missouri Republican's  along with Springfield Congressman Roy Blunt, to vote in favor of the plan, stated in a news release that the legislation's failure leaves behind a serious problem that requires a serious solution.

"The failure of this legislation means financial institutions, small businesses and Americans with pensions, retirement accounts, and savings are still at risk from irresponsible actions on Wall Street," Emerson stated in the news release. 

Last Wednesday, Blunt's son, Republican Governor Matt Blunt criticized the bill and said "I don't believe it's necessary to send $700 billion to Wall Street, which is essentially what has been proposed. I don't think Missouri taxpayers should bail out companies that literally made billions of dollars over the past decade"

Steve Taylor, spokesperson for Republican Congressman Todd Akin from St. Louis, said the expectations for the bill were set too high.

"What Congressman Akin was worried about was that Paulson came in and said we have to do this or we're going to have a catastrophe. That's sort of setting expectations for that and we have to be careful of self-fulfilled prophecies," Taylor said.

State agencies said the national economic turmoil should not effect them financially.

Missouri Department of Transportation spokesperson Kristi Jamison said the department's Safe and Sound plan to fix Missouri bridges will go ahead as expected.

"With the economic situation it just made us look at another way to get it done financially," Jamison said.

The plan, which was originally designed to be privately financed, will now be financed publicly through the department which changed due to rising costs. It will fix 802 of Missouri's bridges over the next five years.

Christine Rackers, spokesperson for the Missouri State Employee Retirement System said the agency is keeping an eye on the market but it shouldn't be affected because it uses long term investment strategies.

"This doesn't change the retirement plan for Missouri," Rackers said. "We've got a long term outlook."

Reporter Jennifer Rogers contributed to this report.