Calling it "as tough a vote I have ever taken in Congress," Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, said that she voted for the financial recovery bill today in Washington "because of the many critical issues plaguing the U.S. financial system."
The vote for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act failed on a 205-228 vote. Most of the Bay Area Democratic Congressional delegation, with Eshoo and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, voted for the bill, which came up 12 votes short of passage. Local representatives voting against the bill were Barbara Lee (Berkeley/Oakland), Pete Stark (East Bay) and Lynn Woolsey (Marin County).
Failure of the House to approve the emergency legislation, after intense negotiations and lobbying over the last week, helped cause the stock market to plunge, with the Dow Jones average plummeting almost 778 points, the greatest one-day numerical loss in its history (although not the greatest drop, percentage-wise).
Eshoo said that she knew the legislation wasn't perfect.
"But doing nothing I believe is a greater risk to our country and would hurt millions of Americans across the nation," she said. "I didn't come to Congress to hurt people."
House Democrats voted 140-95 for the bill while House Republicans voted 65-135 against it, despite it being endorsed by President George W. Bush.
The bill would have provided $700 billion to bail out financial institutions carrying bad mortgages on their books, with an assurance that the money would be paid back to the government.
"This financial crisis is proof-positive of the failed economic policies of the Bush administration which has engaged in 'cowboy capitalism' for too long," Eshoo claimed. "Wall Street has been allowed to run free with little oversight or regulation to protect the American taxpayer."