September 24, 2008

Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, held an impromptu press conference Thursday night to give a status update on the Wall Street bailout bill. After announcing earlier in the day that a fundamental framework had been agreed upon, it appears House Republicans are trying to gum up the process with proposals Secretary Paulson testified would not work.

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Senator McCain has said he had to interrupt his campaign and couldn't do a debate because he had to come here to help us. God save us from such help. But in any case, there is no sign whatsoever that Senator McCain's got any real role here, so he certainly ought to feel free to go back and debate.

So let's get this straight: A general framework was agreed upon before Senator McCain decided to "suspend" his campaign, and now that he's in Washington to "help," it appears all those agreements have fallen through. What leadership!

This is all classic Republican political gamesmanship. The bailout is widely unpopular and House Republicans -- being the unserious, petty people that they are -- are trying to link all the fallout to Bush and the Democrats in order to boost their electoral prospects. We ought to call their bluff and refuse to pass a bill until a solid majority of them are on board. The inevitable market hit will then be laid at their doorstep. Let them take responsibility for tomorrow's 200 point hit.

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