Shays Sees Opening for Bill’s Passage

Posted September 30, 2008 at 12:10pm

To pass the economic bailout on a second vote, Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) said Tuesday that House leaders would have to make relatively few changes to the package.

“The bottom line is this: I think the bill could pass in its present form. I think it could be slightly amended,” Shays said on MSNBC.

Referring to the number of votes shy the bill was on Monday, Shays, who voted for that bill, said, “I mean, it’s only 12 votes. It’s not like this bill was defeated overwhelmingly.”

Shays, a member of the Financial Services Committee, said more Republicans would be willing to support a bill that raises Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insurance, something that as of this morning has been endorsed by both parties’ presidential candidates.

Another proposal that could grow GOP support is having the Securities and Exchange Commission address mark-to-market accounting rules, which require banks to adjust the value of their assets to reflect current market prices. Some Republicans have said current rules force banks to report major losses on mortgage-backed securities.

If negotiators agreed to add this provision, “I bet you’d get 50 votes for this bill,” he said.

Unlike a few days ago, Shays said he is now getting more calls from constituents in support of passing a bill because they are starting to see the effect of not passing the bill.

Some constituents have been so angry about the prospect of a financial sector bailout that they “probably would be willing to be on a bread line just to see Wall Street suffer,” he said.

Added Shays, “But I’m not going to go down that road of destroying Main Street to satisfy people’s dislike of Wall Street.”