MSNBC "Race For The White House With David Gregory" - Interview With Rep. Jim Marshall - Federal Government Bailout Legislation
Interviewer: Joe Scarborough
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MR. SCARBOROUGH: Let's move on now to our next guest. He is a Democratic congressman who voted for the bailout bill yesterday, Representative Jim Marshall of Georgia, a member of the Financial Services Committee.
And Congressman -- (laughs) -- what's wrong with you? You were one of the few members not in a safe seat that actually dared to vote for this bill. Why did you do that when your political future is on the line?
REP. MARSHALL: So are you telling me, Joe, I voted the right way? Is that what you're saying?
MR. SCARBOROUGH: I'm telling you that you were one of the few profiles in courage. Whether you support this bill or not, there were very few people that stuck their neck out a couple of days ago. You were one of them. Why did you do it?
REP. MARSHALL: Well, obviously I think this is a huge deal for the future of America. You know, frankly, it's a credit problem that very many people don't understand. And that itself is understandable that people would not understand this. And so I was deluged, just like other members were deluged, with phone calls saying, "Don't do this, don't do this, don't do this."
And if you understand the problem and you understand the severity of the risk, you've got to say, "I've got to do this for the sake of all those folks I represent, the sake of America's future, its financial future, my kids, et cetera." You know, I can't sit here and play roulette with stakes like this.
MR. SCARBOROUGH: Well --
REP. MARSHALL: And so it was a big deal. And I just figured you've got to do what you've got to do and take the lumps when you get them.
MR. SCARBOROUGH: Congressman, you are a conservative Democrat from the state of Georgia. Every campaign is an uphill battle for you. When you get those phone calls, when you talk to constituents, when they tell you that they shouldn't pay for the sins of Wall Street, what do you tell them?
REP. MARSHALL: I tell them I absolutely agree. The bill as structured, if it works as we plan, they won't pay for the sins of Wall Street. Wall Street should pay for its own sins, and frankly for then some, because we've been dragged down by -- and it's not just Wall Street. There are a whole bunch of irresponsible people involved in this, from borrowers to mortgage brokers to lenders to investors, the rating agencies, Greenspan.
I mean, this has been going on for some time. People in the know knew that, in fact, this was a house of cards. And it's come back to haunt a lot of innocent bystanders. There's no reason why they shouldn't be really mad about this, just like you are, just like I am. And they don't want Wall Street bailed out at their expense, and I absolutely agree with them. This bill doesn't do that.
MR. SCARBOROUGH: Conservatives don't like this bill. A lot of progressives also don't like it. Representative Emanuel Cleaver, a colleague of yours, said this. Quote: "This isn't a Wall Street bailout. It's a George Bush bailout. There's no reason for us to bail Bush out when the Republicans won't vote for it." Do you think that's going to change significantly enough in the next couple of days --
REP. MARSHALL: You know, I tell you what --
MR. SCARBOROUGH: -- that would get 10 votes to support this bill, 10 more votes?
REP. MARSHALL: Joe, here's what I hope. I hope that my Republican friends went home, talked with their constituents, watched what happened where the market is concerned, listened to what people are saying, and that they come back -- and I also hope that we stick some things into a new bill passed by the Senate that will permit some of my Republican friends to vote for this.
You know, frankly, this needs to be a bipartisan bill. It doesn't need to be a Democratic bill, doesn't need to be a Republican bill. We've had way too much of that staff. It doesn't work for the country. And it'd be a big mistake, on something as huge as this is, for us not to come together -- House, Senate, administration, Democrat, Republican -- and pass something. And it's certainly the case that the wings -- and you're familiar with who I'm talking about -- on both sides aren't going to be with us.
But for the sake of the country, what we ought to be doing is not looking for additional Democratic votes. We should be looking for additional Republican votes. And we should be trying to do the sort of things that make them comfortable. I think we ought to be increasing FDIC insurance limits. I think that's real important right now to stop some runs that are going on on medium and small banks.
We ought to give some relief to some of the independent and community banks, maybe let them get to the Fed window at low interest rates to offset some of these distressed loans they've got on their books. There are a number of things that we can do to make this more attractive to permit some of my colleagues who voted no to step to the plate and vote yes.
MR. SCARBOROUGH: Congressman Jim Marshall, thank you so much for being with us. We really appreciate it.
REP. MARSHALL: Sure, Joe.
MR. SCARBOROUGH: All right, talk to you soon.