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Vote Switchers - From Tranche 1 to Tranche 2

January 22, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

In a symbolic vote yesterday afternoon, the House of Representatives voted against releasing the second $350 billion of financial bailout money for use by the Obama administration.

The vote was symbolic-only for two reasons: (1) The Senate already voted last week to give Obama the funds, making it impossible for Congress to present Obama with a joint resolution of disapproval as spelled out in section 115 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, and (2) even if they could jointly approve such a resolution, there’s no way they could overcome Obama’s threatened veto. I should note that Kagro X at CongressMatters has some doubts about point (1) above and will be examining the issue some more tomorrow.

For now, assuming that the Senate is not going to try again to pass this, it seems worthwhile to look at the symbolic function of the individual votes yesterday in the House.

Just to be clear, the vote was held on a resolution in a disapproval of releasing the second $350 billion tranche of the bailout; so an “aye” vote was a vote against the second tranche of the bailout, while a “nay” vote was a vote in favor of the second tranche. Ninety-nine Democrats joined 171 Republicans in voting against the second tranche. Only four Republicans voted “nay” (in favor of the second tranche).

Here’s a look at the Democrats who switched their votes yesterday from when the House approved the bailout bill (and the first $350 billion for the Bush administration to spend) in October:

Democrats who voted in favor of the bailout in October, but against releasing the second tranche to Obama yesterday:

Rep. Michael Arcuri [D, NY-24]
Rep. Shelley Berkley [D, NV-1]
Rep. Robert Berry [D, AR-1]
Rep. Dan Boren [D, OK-2]
Rep. F. Boyd [D, FL-2]
Rep. Dennis Cardoza [D, CA-18]
Rep. Henry Cuellar [D, TX-28]
Rep. Artur Davis [D, AL-7]
Rep. Brad Ellsworth [D, IN-8]
Rep. Phil Hare [D, IL-17]
Rep. Jane Harman [D, CA-36]
Rep. Ronald Kind [D, WI-3]
Rep. Betty McCollum [D, MN-4]
Rep. Jerry McNerney [D, CA-11]
Rep. Kendrick Meek [D, FL-17]
Rep. Charles Melancon [D, LA-3]
Rep. Harry Mitchell [D, AZ-5]
Rep. Charles Rangel [D, NY-15]
Rep. Laura Richardson [D, CA-37]
Rep. Mike Ross [D, AR-4]
Rep. C.A. Ruppersberger [D, MD-2]
Rep. Louise Slaughter [D, NY-28]
Rep. Zachary Space [D, OH-18]
Rep. Jackie Speier [D, CA-12]
Rep. Peter Welch [D, VT-0]

I suppose the above vote switches could be chalked up to massive outrage from constituents over the first vote, the fact that this vote had no real chance of affecting anything, disappointment with the results from the first $350 billion tranche, no longer being under threat of martial law, or the fact that, so far, Congress has not attached any new strings to how the second tranche is to be used by the new Administration.

Democrats who voted against the original bailout bill (and the first $350 billion tranche) in October, but voted yesterday in favor of releasing the second tranche to Obama:

Rep. Xavier Becerra [D, CA-31]
Rep. Earl Blumenauer [D, OR-3]
Rep. George Butterfield [D, NC-1]
Rep. Kathy Castor [D, FL-11]
Rep. William Clay [D, MO-1]
Rep. Raul Grijalva [D, AZ-7]
Rep. Maurice Hinchey [D, NY-22]
Rep. Donald Payne [D, NJ-10]
Rep. Steven Rothman [D, NJ-9]
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard [D, CA-34]
Rep. Brad Sherman [D, CA-27]
Rep. Bennie Thompson [D, MS-2]

The votes are a bit stranger to me. Perhaps these Democrats were never ideologically opposed to the bailout; they just trust Obama with the money more than they trust Bush. Maybe they are convinced by the letter from Larry Summers explaining Obama’s intention to use the money differently. Maybe they just don’t want to vote against a powerful and popular new President.

Needless to say (and not very interesting), while many Republicans switched their vote in October for the bailout to a vote yesterday against it, all four of the Republicans that voted in favor of the second tranche yesterday also voted in favor of the bailout in October.

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