U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson voted for the $700 billion bail-out of the financial industry Monday after becoming convinced that safeguards for taxpayers were included in the bill and that it was vital to controlling the crisis in banking.
In a statement issued after the bill failed on a 205 to 228 vote, Emerson, a Cape Girardeau Republican, said she was seeking to minimize the damage to the economy.
"The failure of this legislation means financial institutions, small businesses and Americans with pensions, retirement accounts and savings are still at risk from irresponsible actions on Wall Street," Emerson said in a statement issued after the vote. "This is a serious problem that requires a serious solution. The threat posed to Main Street Southern Missouri is real, and I will continue to work for a solution that is transparent and accountable to taxpayers."
Emerson joined 65 Republicans and 140 Democrats in support of the bill, which was first proposed 10 days ago by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson as an emergency measure to shore up financial markets. On Wednesday, Emerson issued a statement listing 10 questions she said must be answered to her satisfaction before she could support the bill. Changes to the Paulson proposal, which originally had no oversight of his actions, have made the bill palatable, Emerson spokesman Jeffrey Connor said Monday.
Immediately after the vote, Emerson boarded a military flight to Kosovo with Rep. Ike Skelton, a Democrat from the Kansas City area, and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Missouri National Guard commander King Sidwell to visit Missouri troops stationed in the Balkans. She could not be reached for an interview, Connor said.
Negotiations over the details broke down last week when House Republicans and presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., raised questions about some provisions that had been included during discussions between Senate Democrats and Republicans, House Democrats and the Bush administration.
Through Rep. Roy Blunt, the No. 2 Republican in the House, many of the concerns Emerson included in her statement last week were answered, Connor said. The concerns ranged from oversight to controls on the "golden parachutes" enjoyed by top executives to bail outs for foreign banks and transparency about the price taxpayers would pay for banks' troubled assets.
Emerson was also convinced to vote for the measure when associations representing businesses showed almost unanimous support for the bill, Connor said.
"She is convinced this is a serious problem that needs to be corrected and there needs to be Congressional action," Connor said.
Like the House as a whole, Missouri's congressional delegation was also split. Along with Emerson, Blunt, Skelton and Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan of Louis voted for the measure. U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof, the GOP candidate for governor, voted against it, as did fellow Republicans Sam Graves of Liberty and Todd Akin of St. Louis. Democratic representatives William "Lacy" Clay of St. Louis and Emanuel Cleaver, of Kansas City voted no.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
335-6611, extension 126
Have a comment?
Log on to semissourian.com/today