This vote was on passing a resolution that would prevent the Treasury Department from releasing $350 billion provided under the 2008 financial industry bailout law. This $350 billion is the second installment of funding in a total $700 billion package intended to help rescue the faltering U.S. economy by injecting capital into banks and investment markets and purchasing toxic mortgage assets.
But consideration of the resolution was part political cover and part venting mechanism since it had no hope of becoming law, as the week prior the Senate rejected a similar resolution.
“There’s a certain futility to what we are doing today because the Senate has already defeated the Senate version of this; so no matter what happens in the House today, the program goes forward,” said Barney Frank, D-Mass. “Today we have a vote in which Members will express their opinion on whether or not the $350 billion should go forward. It is simply an expression of opinion. It’s kind of a big public opinion poll for the House, because the Senate has already defeated the bill.”
Still, it gave lawmakers a chance to express their dissatisfaction with the way the financial bailout money has been handled without any fear of actually affecting the way the monies are being spent.
“This legislation remains the largest corporate bailout in American history, forever changes the relationship between government and the financial sector, and passes the costs along to the American people,” said Mike Pence, R-Ind. “I did not come to Washington to expand the size and scope of government. I did not come to Washington to ask working Americans to subsidize the bad decisions of corporate America. Therefore, I did not support the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act last fall, and I cannot support the legislation before the Congress that would send good money after bad. As I said then, while this bill promises to bring near-term stability to our financial markets, I ask my countrymen, at what price?”
By a vote of 270-155, the resolution was adopted. All but four Republicans present voted for the resolution. Of Democrats present, 99 voted for the resolution and 151 voted against it, including the most progressive members. The end result is that the House passed a resolution that would prevent the second $350 billion raft of financial bailout money from being released. However, since the Senate rejected a similar measure it was a symbolic vote.