Local officials oppose financial bailout bill | PostIndependent.com

Local officials oppose financial bailout bill

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” A revised $700 billion bailout of the financial industry cleared the U.S. House Friday, but it did not garner the support Rep. John Salazar, D-Manassa, and Rep. Mark Udall, D-Eldorado Springs.

Salazar said he knows that some will criticize him for his vote against the bailout, but added that his vote was “one of principle for my three children, my grandson, and the millions of young Americans who are going to inherit the bill for a mess they didn’t create.”

“They deserve better,” Salazar said. “They deserve a Congress that sticks around, no matter how long it takes, to get it right,” Salazar said. “Congress could have, and should have, stayed in Washington to produce a better bill.”

Salazar, whose congressional district includes Garfield County, is running for re-election against Republican Wayne Wolf, a Delta county commissioner who lives in Cedaredge.

Eric Wortman, Salazar’s spokesman, added that the congressman’s opposition largely stemmed from the bill’s size and the apparent lack of oversight over how the $700 billion will be distributed. He added that Salazar’s office received thousands of letters from his constituents. About 90 to 95 percent of these letters in opposition to the bailout.

Udall, who is currently running against Bob Schaffer in a battle to replace outgoing U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., said he voted against the bill because it still doesn’t ensure that American taxpayers will get “our money back if the bailed out companies become profitable again.”

Udall said that the bill had hundreds of pages of “sweeteners” ” which included tax cuts and additional funding for projects in districts across the country “to buy people’s votes”. He noted that the additions brought the bill up to a total cost of about $850 billion.

“That way of doing business doesn’t work for me,” he said. “This (bill) wasn’t good enough.”

The congressman’s opposition for the bill also came from the fact that it did not include any real oversight or a requirement that would require mortgage lenders to work with homeowners to avoid foreclosure so they can stay in their homes, Udall said.

“In the bill, mortgage lenders are literally just encouraged to help people out,” he said. “That is just too weak given what people are facing.”

The two congressmen voted against the bailout for the second time on Friday. On Monday, they opposed a similar $700 billion package. Hours after the House passed the bill on Friday, President Bush signed it into law.

Salazar and Udall voted against the similar $700 billion bailout on Monday. After that bill failed to pass, it went to the U.S. Senate, where senators added billions of dollars in tax and spending provisions designed to attract additional support. U.S. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., voted for the measure, while retiring U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., did not.

The Senate’s approval of the revised measure sent the bailout bill back to the House, where it passed Friday.

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