Bachmann Inadvertently Knocks Down GOP Explanation

Posted September 29, 2008 at 5:25pm

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) threw cold water on a key rationale House Republican leaders have been employing this afternoon to explain why they couldn’t deliver more GOP votes for the Wall Street bailout package.

At a Monday afternoon press conference, GOP leaders argued that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) cost the measure a dozen Republican votes by delivering an overly partisan floor speech in support of it.

But Bachmann, speaking at a Republican Study Committee press conference, told reporters, “I want to assure you that was not the case. We are not babies who suck our thumbs. We have very principled reasons for voting no.”

Bachmann was responding to comments Democratic leaders made dismissing the GOP leaders’ claims. But she apparently confused the Democratic response with the initial charge by Republicans, and her comments mirrored those of the Democratic leaders.

The bill failed by a vote of 228-205.

Of the 106 members of the RSC, 81 voted against the package.

Bachmann was joined by other leaders of the conservative wing of the party, who are hoping the failure of the bailout will encourage lawmakers to give their concepts for addressing the financial markets crisis a second look.

Conservatives want the Securities and Exchange Commission to suspend mark-to-market accounting rules, which are putting enormous capital-raising pressure on banks writing down losses from illiquid mortgages.

And they want the FDIC to ensure certain banks running into trouble that they will backstop any losses.

RSC Chairman Jeb Hensarling (Texas) called the package’s failure a “huge bump in the road” but framed it as an opportunity to forge a better bill. “I cannot overstate that it’s more important to do it right than to do it quickly,” he said.