Bickering, finger-pointing follow House defeat of bailout bill
Nick Juliano and David Edwards
Published: Monday September 29, 2008

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Republicans are blaming Democrats and Democrats are blaming Republicans for Monday's failure to pass a $700 billion economic bailout package through the House.

After a weekend of negotiations, congressional leaders were unable to craft a compromise package that could find support from a majority of House members. Neither party could keep its members unified, but Democrats were able to marshal more of their party to back the bailout than were Republicans.

GOP leaders claimed they had another dozen members lined up to support the bailout but lost that support after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's pre-vote floor speech that blamed the "failed Bush economic policies" for causing the crisis and excoriated the president for "squandering" budget surpluses he inherited.

"We could have gotten there today had it not been for the partisan speech that the speaker gave on the floor of the House," House Minority Leader John Boehner said at a brief press conference after the vote. He blamed Pelosi and Democrats for torpedoing a delicate bipartisan agreement and said her speech "poisoned our conference (and) caused a number of members that we thought we could get to go south."

Democrats, speaking at a separate news conference after the bailout package was defeated on a 225-208 vote, mocked the idea that Republicans cared more about bruised egos than fixing an economic crisis.

"Because somebody hurt their feelings, they decided to hurt the country," House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank mocked.

The acerbic lawmaker accused Republicans of simply making excuses after only 65 of 199 GOP members supported the bailout, and he said he doubted their estimations of how many more votes they could have mustered.

"Give me those 12 people's names and I will go talk uncharacteristically nicely about them," Frank chided.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Democrats exceeded their whip counts when it came time to vote on the bailout. He said they had expected about 125 Democratic yea votes and were surprised that 140 Democrats supported the measure. Ninety-five Democrats opposed the bailout.

Hoyer said Democrats were doing their part to help pass a bailout that President Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said was necessary.

"This was not our administration's request," he said. "This was the Republican administration's request."

This video is from CNN's Newsroom, broadcast September 29, 2008.

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor before the vote, excoriating the Bush administration in a diatribe Republicans blamed for turning their party against the package.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi spoke after the failure of a financial bailout bill.

This video is from, broadcast September 29, 2008.

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