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That is the $700-billion question facing African American lawmakers as negotiations resume in Congress
Democrats and Republicans were not the only ones divided by a massive $700-billion bailout plan that faltered this week just as Congress was to break for a two day Jewish holiday.
African American members of Congress on the Democrat side of the aisle also differed on the critical plan that could have lingering effects on the ordinary Black American for years to come.
With much of the finger pointing aimed at outgoing President George W. Bush, the United States House of Representatives will come to order Thursday Oct.2 in hopes of hammering out a proposal that the majority of them deem essential.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-35) voted yes on the bill that would authorize the government to purchase nonperforming loans, bad debt and toxic paper, which has sent Wall Street plummeting to a 21-year dive as of Sept. 29.
“Bailout for Wall Street? I don’t think so. I could care less about Wall Street and the high priced schemers and their tricky products; hedge funs, short selling, insider trading. I care about Main Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive,” explained Waters.
Waters said that she voted “yes” because the nonperforming loans represent people, real Americans in trouble.
“Yes some got in over their heads. They contracted for mortgages they could not afford, but many Americans are victims of predatory lending, suckered into adjusted or reset within six months, one year, two year or three years,” she added.
However, another prominent local lawmaker, Rep. Diane Watson (D-33) voted against the $700-Billion Economic Stabilization Plan.
Watson commended her colleagues on efforts to modify the bailout into something more acceptable, but added, “I am still not convinced this unprecedented plan is credible, accountable, not will it work in its current form.”
“I also do not believe that we have to act precipitously and without adequate debate and discussion of the current plan as well as credible alternative plans,” she insisted.
Watson argued that her constituents can rest assured that she is listening to their concerns, “which is why I oppose a bailout of Wall Street that will leave the vast majority of us on Main Street holding the tab that will cost every man, woman, and child in the U.S. nearly $3000.”
Another, Rep. Laura Richardson (D-37) is in favor of HR3997, The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 to stabilize U.S. Financial markets.
“I understand my colleagues’ concerns and reluctance as reflected in the vote (205 yes-228 no), [but] I urge all of us to return to the bargaining table, provide fiscally sound legislation, establish reform policies to prevent reoccurrences, protect the taxpayers and implement programs to eliminate this crisis equally in neighborhoods on Main street and in the financial institutions on Wall Street,” stated Richardson.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-9) from Northern California also voted against the bill that was last considered on Sept. 29.
“Home foreclosures are skyrocketing, and home values are plunging, banks are failing and we are still spending more than $10 billion every month on a war in Iraq that should never have been waged,” stated Lee.
Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama is scheduled to travel to Washington D.C. to vote on the bailout plan as soon as necessary.
Obama urged the nation to be calm during this time of peril during one of his campaign stops.
“To Democrats and Republicans who opposed this plan yesterday, I say step up to the plate and do what’s right for this country,” Obama said from a campaign stomp in Nevada.
“And to all Americans, I say this: If and when I am president of the United States, this rescue plan will not be the end of what we do to strengthen this economy, it will only be the beginning.”