Pelosi Says Members Worried About Bailout Funding

Posted September 25, 2008 at 12:22pm

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said there were divisions Thursday among Democrats about a $700 billion bailout package that isn’t paid for.

“There are differences of opinion on our Caucus on this,” Pelosi said. “I think they’ll vote for what they will believe.”

Some Democrats “will never vote for something that isn’t paid for or has the prospect of being paid for,” said the Speaker. Other Members “might make a judgment down the road that … there’s a shortfall and it should be covered. … And that will have an impact on whether people vote for it or not.”

Pelosi said she hoped pay-fors are something that lawmakers “will be able to work out in this bill,” but if not, some kind of cost-recovery plan “will be there for sure” later.

She offered support for a suggestion by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) to look for ways that financial institutions can help to pay for the rescue package once they are stable.

Other Democrats have suggested measuring the effects of the bill a few years out and coming up with pay-fors at that time, if taxpayer dollars haven’t been reimbursed.

“They’re saying, if there’s a shortfall, then it’s something that we should make up for so that we’re not increasing the deficit as we come to the rescue of Wall Street,” Pelosi said.

It is possible that taxpayers could break even or even make money in the end, Pelosi added. “Maybe not. Maybe not completely whole. But it’s certainly not going to be a $700 billion exposure.”