Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN-7) today voted against the bailout proposal. Her statement follows:
"Today, I voted no' on the financial recovery act. The economic crisis facing our county is the most serious we have faced in a generation. Tennesseans deserve a detailed explanation of a very difficult vote.
"I fully understand the magnitude of the problem facing us and why Congress must act decisively to prevent further erosion of our economy. While the media focus has been on Wall Street, my focus has been on Main Street. That we are in this position at all is galling. Poor Washington policy and regulators who simply did not do their job brought us to this troubling point. Now, a tightening of the credit market puts the health of small businesses in Tennessee at risk.
"I commend my House Republican colleagues and Senator McCain on the work they have done over the past week to craft a common sense solution from the proposal that Secretary Paulson originally brought to the Hill. They carried the conservative banner in negotiations and saved the country from what I saw as a disastrous legislative product. The bill before us was far better than the Administration's original proposal. The taxpayer was better protected, enhanced oversight demands were placed on the administration, and the executives who helped get us into this mess would not be enriched at our expense.
"Unfortunately, the basic premise of the original Paulson/Bernanke plan supported the view that government can intervene in the free market without fault and assumes that the taxpayer should be the lender of first resort. That is not a position I can support. Nor can I support raising the debt limit to over 11 trillion dollars while not trimming even a single dollar of Federal spending. While the plan is much closer to the workout plan I envisioned, including a Federal insurance plan that allows Wall Street an attractive option to cure its own self-inflicted wound, I had hoped to see more of Wall Street's skin in the game. I had also hoped that simple policy solutions, like reinstating the uptick rule, immediately suspending mark-to-market regulations, and temporarily suspending the Capital Gains tax could have made the bill even better. These flaws go to the core of my values and vision of government. My reservations about the bill were compounded by the negative and partisan tone the floor debate took in its final hours.
"I voted against the legislation today with a heavy heart, in full consideration of the advances my conservative colleagues won during the negotiation process. Still, the flaws of the proposal challenge my free market values. Voters in Tennessee trust me to hold fast to those values and I will not abandon them now.
"It is my earnest hope that today's vote will drive Congressional Leadership back to the negotiating table with an eye toward a more comprehensive solution."