Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Atrocity of the day/updated/corrected

Posted by Charles II on May 1, 2009

The atrocity of the day is that Blue Dog Senate Democrats voted down mortgage relief which, in addition to helping keep people in their homes, would have also enjoined DoJ to prosecute fraud and opened up credit for us hoi polloi (here’s the roll call). This is what I sent my people in Congress:

I am writing to urge that, for the good of both the Congress and the nation, public financing of elections be given a high priority for passage in this session.

Very frankly, what is going on in the Congress looks to the ordinary citizen like organized corruption. When Senator Durbin said that “the banks own the place,” he was saying what we feel. Did the people of this country want to defeat S.896, a measure that would have provided mortgage relief? No, it was the banks that wanted defeat.

And—even if the vote was tainted by campaign contributions—was is in the best interests of the nation? No: the economic downturn is driven by foreclosures and the fear that they engender. This vote will inevitably lead to more damage to the economy.

The Congress faces great pressures in raising funds. The resistance of Republicans to reforming this corrupt system verges on the fanatical. It therefore falls on the shoulders of those who believe in clean government—and I count you among them—to force the issue.

All 40 Republicans voted Nay. ElevenTwelve Democrats joined them: Baucus, Michael Bennet, Byrd, Carper, Dorgan, Johnson, Landrieu, Lincoln, Nelson, Pryor, ::cough:: Specter, Tester.

Here are the 2008 contributions from commercial banks and Finance/Insurance/RE (from OpenSecrets, taken from Top Recipients: Senate page; thanks to OpenSecrets maddeningly bad search system, may not match other searches):

Baucus, Max (D-MT) $130,780…$1,597,925
Bennet, Michael (D-CO) No data listed
Byrd, Robert (D-WV) not listed…$1,000
Carper, Tom (D-DE) $25,810…$111,430
Dorgan, Byron L (D-ND) $6,000…$95,250
Johnson, Tim (D-SD) $143,706…$864,318
Landrieu, Mary L (D-LA) $99,949…$1,073,803
Lincoln, Blanche (D-AR) $20,750…$176,850
Nelson, Ben (D-NE) $11,924…$115,274
Pryor, Mark (D-AR) $111,842…$830,806
Specter, Arlen (R-PA) $74,200…$944,149
Tester, Jon (D-MT) $14,500…$73,765

Let’s be clear. Some members took large contributions from industries that had an interest in this and still voted for mortgage relief. Some of those who took little from the affected industries, notably Robert Byrd, still voted to put people into the street. For Senators from a small state, like Tester, $88,000 might mean more than $1M to a Senator from a large state, like Specter. But it still seems to be blindingly clear that money is buying legislation. And it’s beyond argument that certain Democrats are joining the Republicans to defeat good legislation.

Update: Michael Collins has more.

3 Responses to “Atrocity of the day/updated/corrected”

  1. Thanks, Charles. Sadly, the one thing I’m surprised by is that the other idiotic Nelson (the Florida Space Case) isn’t on that list.

  2. omen said

    pardon my ignorance, but why wasn’t the 60 vote rule in effect here? if dems had really wanted to pass this thing, why didn’t they filibuster?

  3. Charles II said

    A filibuster prevents a bill from coming to a vote, Omen. With or without a filibuster, you need a majority of votes to pass it.

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