Sunday, October 5, 2008

Stark votes against bailout again

Likening the push for Friday's bailout bill to that which preceded Congress' authorization of the Iraq war, Rep. Pete Stark was the only Bay Area House member to vote against the revised Wall Street rescue bill Friday.

"It's the same pressure we had when we voted for the Iraq war, this constant threat of disaster if you didn't vote the way the administration suggested, and that's what concerns me," Stark, D-Fremont, said after the House approved it on a 263-171 vote.

Stark said he'd have preferred to hold hearings for a month, listening to families facing foreclosure and others truly at risk in this financial crisis.

"All I see is what we're going to do to help Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, but they are gamblers, big-time gamblers," he said. "When they were winning, they wouldn't help the country, and now that they're losing ... they want us to bail them out."

Stark said he's sympathetic to those truly struggling. "The poor Chevy dealer closed in the city of Alameda and (state Treasurer Bill) Lockyer feels the state is having trouble borrowing money and the CalPERS pension fund is probably losing money "... but the bank of Fremont tells me they're not in any trouble, they're making loans.

"This is a recession, there's no question about that," he said. "The problem is, this proposal is really no different than what we were given two weeks ago" — a blank check giving Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson $700 billion for "any Advertisementdamn thing he wants."

And telling people they'll not be able to get cash out of their ATM is "patently rubbish," he said, a scare tactic.

Stark founded the storefront Security National Bank in 1963 in Walnut Creek, and he saw it grow into a $100 million financial institution with branches throughout the East Bay before selling his interest after his 1972 election to Congress.

Representatives Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, had voted against a bailout bill Monday but supported the revised bill Friday.

"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," Lee said in a statement issued Friday. "But I must err 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. I am going to continue to keep fighting for meaningful foreclosure relief and the type of direct economic stimulus that we fought to include in this bill and that people need during these very difficult times."

  • TSX falls by record 840.93 points; oil drops to $95 US
  • Stark proposes law helping immigrant foster kids get green cards
  • Tauscher shifts to pro-Obama stance