Local Congressional leaders support bailout

October 3, 2008 12:32:59 PM PDT
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 263-171 today to approve an unprecedented $700 billion government bailout of the financial industry.

The revised measure, which was passed by the Senate 74-25 Wednesday night, now goes to President Bush, who is expected to sign it.

A previous version of the bailout bill was defeated by the House of Representatives on Monday.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, was among those who voted against that bill but she supported the legislation that was approved today.

In a speech on the floor of the House before the vote, Lee said the bill "is a bailout" and "we should be honest about the fact that we don't know whether or not this bill will work."

But Lee also said, "We must be honest about the fact that we can't afford to risk the potential consequences of inaction" and California Treasurer Bill Lockyer told her this week "that people will suffer greater pain, including cuts to critical state funded services, if we don't do something to stop the hemorrhaging."

Lee said, "As a former small business owner, I understand that access to credit will make or break your business and without it people will lose jobs."

She said, "I understand that with this bill's passage we will not magically turn the economy around, reverse the rise in unemployment or end the recession."

But she said, "I must error on the side of caution so our seniors can have some confidence that their pensions are safe. And I hope that we will help prevent this financial crisis from exacting an even bigger toll on the everyday lives of our constituents."

Lee added, "I have to say that I'm glad our fight helped slow this bill down. Because the bill before us today is a better bill."

Lee said, "This is a difficult vote but I'm confident it is the right vote."