Blunt Reaches Out to Democrats

Posted September 29, 2008 at 3:57pm

House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told reporters Monday that he reached out to Democratic leaders and Senate Republicans after the bailout package failed on the House floor and will continue to try to reach a deal that can pass.

“We’re going to have a couple of days to see how the marketplace reacts, and maybe that’s a good thing,” Blunt said after talking to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), and others trying to find a way forward.

Blunt said he would talk to Members on his side of the aisle who voted no to see if some items can be added to the package to cobble together more support.

Some Republican Members who voted against the package have called for increasing the $100,000 limit on FDIC insurance; others for suspending mark-to-market accounting rules.

“You can’t do things that drive yes votes away, either on our side or the other side,” Blunt said.

Blunt said he thought he had 75 votes going on to the House floor, but they fell well short of that.

“They knew that’s what I thought we had,” Blunt said.

At one point during the vote, Democrats offered to find another handful of votes if Blunt could find another handful, Blunt said. But when the vote was tallied, Blunt said he had a couple more votes in hand — short of what he needed.

“It’s a hard thing to do,” Blunt said, adding that he thought the time pressure of voting early in the day before the Rosh Hashana holiday also hurt. Most tough votes are held later in the day and leaders usually go to the floor when they know they have the votes, Blunt said.

He also said that the looming elections and the relatively lack of carrots the GOP leadership can offer in the minority also hurt.

“The closer you are to the election, it’s harder,” he said.