McConnell Explains Bailout Vote

Posted October 7, 2008 at 4:07pm

Locked in a tough re-election bid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has written a lengthy letter to voters explaining his vote for the Wall Street bailout bill.

McConnell sent out an e-mail to voters laying out what he said were the benefits that come with the bill and the consequences that would have befallen consumers had it failed. The legislation became law Friday, and by Monday, it had become a campaign issue.

“These consequences affect real people. I heard from a small business owner who saw the interest rate on his building quadruple in one week. I am aware of communities with good credit that could not sell the bonds needed to support jobs. Because of these kinds of things, I decided that inaction was not an option. I worked to find a bipartisan consensus to stabilize the economy, protect taxpayers, and prevent unemployment,” McConnell wrote.

In the letter, McConnell noted that the $700 billion package would be paid out in phases and that lawmakers can block up to $350 billion. Additionally, he cited oversight provisions to protect taxpayers.

“Most economists agree that the initial bill will be recouped, and there is a significant chance the rescue bill could actually make money for American taxpayers,” McConnell said.

McConnell’s opponent, Democrat Bruce Lunsford, is blaming McConnell for the economic crisis in an ad, arguing that McConnell was a part of deregulation effort that spiraled into the financial crisis.

McConnell is in a tougher race than previously expected. Recent polls have shown Lunsford making gains, while McConnell’s campaign released an internal poll recently showing McConnell with a 20-point advantage.