GOP Says It’s Not to Blame for Bailout Hold Up

Posted September 26, 2008 at 11:45am

The head of the Republican Study Committee said Friday that it was “ludicrous” to blame House Republicans for holding up the $700 billion bailout package as Democrats can pass the bill without GOP support.

“The truth is that Democrats can pass the [Treasury Secretary Henry] Paulson plan in an hour if they believe it is the right thing to do. That is their prerogative,” Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said.

Hensarling said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) should pass the administration plan if they believe it is “the only plan that can save the American economy.”

They could do so without the consent of House Republicans, who “believe there is a better way to do it, where we can help Wall Street work out of this crisis rather than forcing taxpayers to bail it out,” he said.

“If Speaker Pelosi and the Democrat leadership want our votes and our support, they should work with us just as we are attempting to work with them,” Hensarling said.

Pelosi has said House Republicans must also vote for the package, though she has not said how many.

In another development, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) delivered a letter to Pelosi on Friday morning insisting that she give consideration to a list of “economic rescue principles” sought by House conservatives.

“If such consideration is not given, a large majority of Republicans cannot — and will not — support Sec. Paulson’s plan,” Boehner wrote. “ In the interest of the men and women we represent in Congress, I hope it does not come to that conclusion.”

Boehner complained that Democratic negotiators “on several occasions” this week announced that a bipartisan deal was at hand when reservations by House conservatives had not been addressed.

“Each time such announcements were made, or even rumored, I or my staff made it clear to media and to your staff that any such deal did not include House Republicans,” he said.

Boehner suggested that a timely agreement on a bipartisan rescue plan “is never out of reach” and that House Republicans are prepared to stay in Washington, D.C., to keep working on a plan that “reflects the core free-market, pro-taxpayer principles of our Party.”