Shays Says Leaders Lack Credibility

Posted October 1, 2008 at 9:29am

Despite House leaders signaling new support for passing a $700 billion financial plan, at least one Republican who voted for the bill the first time doesn’t think they will have much sway with Members.

“I don’t think the leaders have any credibility right now with the rank and file, so they’re not going to be able to deliver,” Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) said Wednesday on MSNBC.

Lawmakers also don’t have much credibility with their constituents, Shays said, which means each Member’s decision will ultimately be a “conscience vote” — and some may change their minds and oppose the bill the second time around.

Shays, a member of the Financial Services Committee, speculated that the Senate will pass its bill tonight and “my guess is the House finds the votes to pass it.”

Since the Senate proposal contains tax extenders without cost offsets — a concept opposed by many House Democrats — the Connecticut Republican said he anticipates House Democratic leaders lining up a separate vote on tax extenders.

“I think the tax bill may be a separate vote, so those who want to vote against could vote against and those who want to vote for it could vote for it,” Shays said. “I think that’s the way they’re planning to do it.”

A senior Democratic aide said party leaders “haven’t even talked yet” and it remains undecided how they will proceed.

Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.), who voted against the bailout bill the first time, appeared ready to oppose the Senate’s revised bill because it lacks economic stimulus provisions.

“Although it is a bit better, it still does not deal with the problems we have in a district like mine,” Payne said on MSNBC. If the bill fails a second time in the House, all that means is that Members “have to go back to the drawing board.”