Senator Grassley (R-IA) has voted in favor of the Senate version of the financial bailout bill. In a statement that the senator released late this evening he explains that he agrees with his constituents that do not like the legislation. He explains that he feels that this is the “best opportunity we have today to avoid a credit crunch that might cripple our economy.” I would argue that Congress has not had sufficient time, and has not fully considered alternatives to this legislation. So we have no way of knowing if this is the best opportunity to avoid the credit crunch. I believe this vote was irresponsible.
In addition to it being the “best opportunity”, Grassley explains that he in fact had to support the bill in order to pass the unrelated tax legislation that has been attached to the bill. In response to the concern of Grassley Watch and others, he said the following:
“It’s wrong that Congressional leaders have made the fate of all these good tax policies for Main Street subject to this massive, controversial bill to try to rescue America’s financial system, but they did. Two weeks ago, the Senate voted with only two dissenting votes to pass these tax extensions and disaster tax relief. The only reason these tax policies are not already law is because of the House of Representatives putting political games ahead of people. The President has said he will sign the Senate tax extenders legislation into law.”
I have to take the senator at his word, but a previous report on Dow Jones Newswire suggested that Grassley was working with Republican leaders to have it included with the bailout. I agree with the senator that it is wrong that Congressional leaders linked the fate of these two bills. As I have complained about many times before, linking unrelated issues such as tax extenders and the $700 billion bailout lead elected officials to cast poor votes while claiming victory. In this case Grassley can claim that he had no choice but to support the bill in order to get these extenders passed, but he disliked the legislation in general. That is simply a political game that allows elected officials to mislead their constituents and take credit for the good in a bill while placing blame for the bad in the bill.
I am dissapointed in the senator and am now hoping that Representative King (R-IA), a true Iowa conservative, will stand up against this bill when the House takes it up at the end of this week.
Originally posted 10/01/2008 on Grassley Watch