Congressman Blunt Tries to Deflect From His Record

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Congressman 'Bailout' Blunt's DC Doublespeak on the $700 Billion Bailout Just Doesn't Add Up

Once Applauded as a 'Chief Negotiator' of the $700 billion Wall Street Bailout, Congressman Blunt Buckles Under Political Pressure, Tries to Deflect From His Record

Congressman Roy Blunt has been widely recognized as one of George W. Bush's closest political allies and a key architect of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout. Since Congressman Blunt helped change votes and shove the bailout through Congress, it has been criticized for loopholes and a lack of accountability. From creating dangerous incentives by rewarding bad behavior with billions in taxpayer dollars, to letting big banks continue to dole out outrageous bonuses and salaries, Blunt's bailout looked out for Wall Street - not middle-class families in Missouri. [Roll Call, 10/1/08; Bloomberg, 12/7/09]

Now, under increasing political pressure from both sides of the aisle and reports that the bailout is increasingly unpopular with voters, Congressman Blunt is hoping that if he throws a few different versions of truth out there, one might stick. In recent days, Congressman Blunt has said that the $700 billion Wall Street bailout was really only $350 billion and then just days later claimed he only supported a $250 billion bailout. And last week, Congressman Blunt's son (former Governor Matt Blunt) and his campaign spokesman even went so far as to say that Congressman Blunt didn't support the bailout [Weekly Standard, 7/5-12/10; Missourinet, 7/11/10; Twitter 07/09/10].

"Congressman Blunt can throw as many numbers out there as he wants, but it won't change the fact that he not only voted for, but was a key architect of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout," said Linden Zakula, Robin Carnahan's campaign spokesman. "Records don't lie and Congressman Blunt can't run from the fact that he twisted arms to give Wall Street $700 billion in taxpayer money with little accountability."

Don't take our word for it - Read the Facts:


* Blunt Says He Only Voted for Half ($350 Billion) of the Bailout: Blunt told the Weekly Standard in July 2010 that he voted for only half the TARP bailout of banks in 2008. [The Weekly Standard, 7/5-12/10]

* Blunt Even Tries to Blame Former President Bush: With Brent Martin of Missourinet, Blunt continued to backtrack and even threw former President Bush under the bus, saying "Splitting the thing in half, because I thought President Bush asked for too much money and only giving them the first 250 (billion) in that vote, another 100 if they asked for it." [Missourinet, 7/11/10]


* CQ Bill Analysis: "The law establishes the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), which authorizes $700 billion." [CQ Bill Analysis, HR 1422 as signed into law by the president on 10/3/08]

* Washington Times: "Congress on Friday gave Wall Street the financial lifeline it was seeking and President Bush immediately signed it into law, as the House reversed course and approved a $700 billion bailout package." [Washington Times,10/4/08]

* Associated Press: "A wave of House converts jumped aboard the $700 billion financial industry bailout Thursday..." [Associated Press, 10/3/08]

* Roll Call: "The House appears headed today for another nail-biter on the $700 billion Wall Street bailout." [Roll Call, 10/3/08]

* Associated Press headline: "House plans second vote on $700 billion bailout." [AP, 10/3/08]


* Blunt Spokesman: "Blunt Did Not Support Bailout": On July 8, Blunt's spokesman said: "[Congressman Blunt] did not support a $700 billion bailout." [Twitter, 7/8/10]


* Blunt Voted For and Negotiated $700 Billion Wall Street Bailout. In 2008 Blunt voted not once--but twice--in favor of the $700 billion financial rescue package championed by former President Bush and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. [HR 1424, Vote #681, 10/3/08; HR 3997, Vote #674, 9/29/08]


* Blunt: Bill Is Not A Bailout. Before the House voted on the financial rescue legislation, Blunt reiterated that the package was not a bailout. [Springfield News-Leader, 9/29/08]


* Headline - "Blunt is Man in the Middle for Bailout Talks": On September 26, Congressional Quarterly described Blunt as "the newly designated lead negotiator for restive House Republicans in drafting a financial rescue plan." [CQ, 9/26/08]

* Headline -"Blunt Lines Up Support for Another House Bailout Vote": After the bailout failed to pass the House, Congressman Blunt helped convinced skeptical Republicans to switch their votes. [Gannett, 10/2/08]


* Blunt: Bailout Bill Contains "Every Known Oversight Mechanism Ever Conceived Of By Government In It." Blunt said, "This bill protects taxpayers. This bill has every known oversight mechanism ever conceived of by government in it now." [CNN, 10/3/08]


* Republican Todd Akin: "Virtually No Oversight." Akin's spokesman Steve Taylor said, "The heart of the proposed bailout is to take $700 billion and have virtually no oversight and have Secretary Paulson, who is at the helm of this economic disaster to begin with, unilaterally distribute it." Taylor added, "People like Paulson are forcing this situation by promoting panic." [The Maneater, 10/3/08]


* Blunt Said Wall Street Bailout Was Responsible and Necessary. Blunt told the St. Louis Post Dispatch last week that the bailout, "was the kind of responsible thing that government should do." [STL P-D, 7/9/10]


* Bloomberg Columnist: TARP "No Victory for Taxpayers." According to Bloomberg News columnist David Reilly, "TARP gave rise to, and nurtured, the too- big-to-fail phenomenon. Bank of America Corp. or even possibly Citigroup Inc. repaying TARP funds won't make up for that." [Bloomberg, 12/7/09]

* Headline: "Bailout bill thick with tax kickbacks." As reported by the Springfield News Leader, "There are $6 million in tax breaks for the manufacturers of wooden arrows. Another $33 million in tax relief for corporations operating in American Samoa territory. And don't forget the $192 million break for Puerto Rican and Virgin Islands rum producers."[Springfield News Leader, 10/3/08]

* Headline: TARP Watchdog Neil Barofsky: Government Bailout Has Increased Risk of Economic Crisis." As reported by the AP "The government's response to the financial meltdown has made it more likely the United States will face a deeper crisis in the future, an independent watchdog at the Treasury Department warned... Since Congress passed $700 billion financial bailout, the remaining institutions considered "too big to fail" have grown larger and failed to restrain the lavish pay for their executives, Barofsky wrote. He said the banks still have an incentive to take on risk because they know the government will save them rather than bring down the financial system." [AP, 1/30/10]

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