Monday, September 29, 2008

Republicans point finger of blame at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for 'partisan' speech'

30 September 2008

EVEN before the doomed vote on the $700 billion bail-out plan began in the House of Representatives yesterday, stocks were plummeting as tension mounted.

In Congress, members shouted news of the plunging Dow Jones average as others crowded on the floor during the 40-minute call of the roll, as leaders on both sides struggled to persuade rank-and-file members to support the deal. Within minutes of the ADVERTISEMENTresult, the recriminations had begun.

House Republicans blamed a "partisan" speech by the Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, during the debate. She had blamed George Bush's "reckless economic policies", "fiscal irresponsibility" and an "anything goes economic policy" for the crisis.

After the vote, John Boehner, the Republican minority leader, said: "I do believe we could have got there today, had it not been for this partisan speech the Speaker gave. The Speaker had to give a partisan voice that poisoned our conference."

Later, the Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, said: "I was hopeful the improved rescue plan would have had the votes needed to pass, because addressing the credit crisis is of vital importance to families, small businesses, every working American.

"Now it's time for all members of Congress to go back to the drawing board. I call on Congress to get back, obviously, immediately to address this crisis.

"Our leaders are expected to leave partisanship at the door and come to the table to solve our problems."

Mr McCain also criticised his Democratic presidential rival, Barack Obama, and "his allies in Congress" for their "unnecessary partisanship".

However, Mr Obama himself took a bullish stance when he urged Democrats and Republicans to "step up to the plate, get (a deal] done".

He added: "Understand that, even as you get it done to stabilise the markets, we have more work to do to make sure that main street is getting the same kind of help Wall Street's getting."

And Henry Paulson, the US Treasury secretary, added: "We need to put something back together that works. We need it as soon as possible."

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