McConnell says bailout is among ‘finest moments’

October 01, 2008 | | Comments 17

On the verge of the Senate's vote on the $700 billion bailout bill, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made one last pitch to his colleagues to support the legislation, which he praised for being born of bipartisan cooperation.

McConnell, noting that both presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain returned for the vote, said the negotiations between Republican and Democratic leaders to forge a compromise have been "unprecedented."

"I think it is one of the finest moments in the history of the Senate," he said just before the vote, which began shortly after 9 p.m.

The measure passed overwhelmingly, 74-25, with bipartisan support, including McCain and Obama.

McConnell, followed by Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid, said the compromise reached the passage "illustrates how well we’ve worked together on a bipartisan basis to try to address the difficult crisis."

One senator not swayed was Republican Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky.

Bunning voted "No" on the floor but did not speak. Instead he entered into the congressional record a lengthy statement outlining his opposition to the bailout plan and saying he had "no confidence" in it to work.

"I have no confidence it will work, and the only people I have heard that have confidence that it will work are the Treasury Secretary and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the people who proposed in the first place," Bunning's official statement said. "Even Senators supporting this bill say things like 'I hope this will work' or 'we have to do this because nothing is not an option.' I say that $700 billion is a lot of money to gamble on hope, especially when there are other options.

Bunning went on to criticize Congress for not giving greater consideration to alternative plans and again slammed U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke for spearheading the government intervention. 

"To sell the public and Congress on this Wall Street bailout, the
President, Secretary Paulson, and Chairman Bernanke have pushed the
media and public to the edge of panic by telling everyone we are
staring at the second coming of the Great Depression," Bunning said.

Here is a sample of the rest of his statement:

…In fact, the only way anyone has any confidence that this plan will work is if the government overpays and gives a windfall to the banks and others selling their bad investments.  But that is not just dishonest, it is also not even the most efficient way of getting funds into the institutions. 
This bill also has no requirements that the institutions take their newfound cash and use it to lend to Main Street or anyone else.  They are going to put that money to the use they think is in their best interest, not in the best interest of the average American. 

Now, Mr. President, I do support taking action to address the mess government created.  To restore confidence, instead of giving the Secretary $700 billion, we should send a signal that we are serious about this and stay in Washington until we have a real solution.  One way we could do that is to give the Secretary a far smaller amount of funds to use to unfreeze the markets, and take a few weeks to hold some hearings, meet with experts who might have different ideas, and find a way to fix what is broken.  We certainly should not just rely on the opinions of the people who created this mess and stand to benefit the most from this proposal. 

The U.S. House could vote on the Senate-approved bailout bill as early as Friday. McConnell, speaking to Washington reporters, wouldn't predict whether the House would support it after it turned away an earlier version on Monday on a 205-228 vote.

Later, in an afternoon floor speech, McConnell said he thought the House would pass it by the end of the week.

– Ryan Alessi

Filed Under: Federal GovernmentMitch McConnell


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  1. David says:

    Can any sane person imagine Lunsford being able to pull off what McConnell just accomplished? Mitch stepped up to the plate and delivered for Kentucky and the nation. He deserves to be re-elected.

  2. Bring it says:

    Our Family Mantra is “Bring It” Senator McConnel Brought it, we are thrilled that he did this. I will be calling him asking for help against one of the huge companies trying to screw the little guy, I am sure he will help.

  3. Me says:


    Bailed out Wall Street crooks and opened the door to future bailouts when this completely fails to stabalize the economy.

  4. Jim Anderson Stivers says:

    In denial . ..

    The post offering praise to Mitch McConnell are trolls. How in the world can anyone, with good reading skills, not understand that the GOP Senator from Kentucky was part of the problem and turned against his less than honorable leader, George Bush and voted for the public pulse.

    McConnell had nothing to do with this passing.To believe other wise is a fantasy.

    The Senate continues to be a nail bitter, but in the end Lunsford very likely will defeat McConnell by a slim margin. But, slim is just fine, as long as this lying, HOWDY DOODY is gone from Washington.

    He is part of the problem of what we have just witnessed. Check out his campaign post and you will see, McConnell drew heavily, PAC money, from Wall Street.

    Jim Anderson Stivers

  5. IMHO says:

    While I think the bill was necessary to stabilize the current state of the economy, it is ludicrous the think that this is due to one or two people. It was a bipartisan effort in the Senate and McConnell, Obama nor McCain can lay claim that they exerted any influence to push the bill through. Although I do not want to send McConnell back to Washington, I also do not want to send a self-serving, egotistical man like Bruce Lunsford. The only benefit if Lunsford is able to buy a Senate seat, we won’t have to be exposed to his perennial runs at any political office. Hopefully, if Lunsford does lose, he will take the hint and stay home (in Illinois).

  6. Gypsy says:

    Mitch McConnell voted with George Bush 95% of the time and voted for deregulation of the financial world. This appearance he is now making is just another McCon job. He even boosted last year about being George Bush’s best ally in Washington. Don’t forget his past and continue your future in a down spiral.

  7. Bill Adkins says:

    Finest moment? For McConnell, maybe. For the nation it’s a low point with a Black Friday in October to come. What might be a fine moment for McConnell is a poor measure indeed.

  8. Jim Anderson Stivers says:


    Does your post indicate that you will just not vote n the Senate race?

    jas in frankfort

  9. IMHO says:

    Voting is a constitutional right and not to vote in my opinion in unpatriotic. I will choose the lesser of two evils and vote for McConnell. If nothing more than the simple trade off of a senior Senator for a newbie with a ton of business and personal baggage for someone who has never been elected to a political office.

  10. Jim Anderson Stivers says:



  11. Cleareye says:

    McConnell thinks this screwing is the senates’ “finest hour!” I guess from his perspective as a sycophant of Bush, perverted master thief, he could be right.
    Fortunately, the normal people are seeing the light and object to this bailout of big money hogs. Collectively, the senate is trying to defrauded the people, make no mistake about it, and McConnell actually claims credit, and in public! And there are people dumb enough to want more of the same.

    (sycophant- a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite.)

  12. JH says:

    Another drop of 400 points in the market will cost about $700 billion. This action is necessary to stabilize the financial markets both in the U.S. and internationally and to eliminate the possibility of a tightening credit crunch. In the September 30, 1999 issue of the New York Times, writer Steven A. Holmes detailed the pressure that the Clinton Administration was putting on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to increase their loan portfolios to minorities and high-risk groups. Almost ten years later, we are paying for that pressure.

  13. Bill Adkins says:

    The housing meltdown is the exit wound, gas prices being the entry wound with massive internal bleeding in the form of inflation of food prices, excessive use of credit cards to fill the gap and rising unemployment. Blaming minorities may make you feel better — it’s far from the truth. When those people bought those houses they could afford them. The already referenced factors had the negative impact. As to predatory or fraudulent lending, if it were true, wouldn’t we be seeing massive prosecutions to reflect that extensive fraud alleged? While certainly there may have been some illegal activity, to reflect what has been alleged the federal court houses should be full.

  14. IMHO says:

    I haven’t seen where anyone is blaming minorities for what has happened. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been able to operate with little to no oversight, including the underwriting of numerous mortgage markets that no doubt were part of the predatory lending practices or the extension to questionable credit. Both agencies were also responsible for a number of sub-loans. Since mortgages were a traded commercial paper, banks and insurance companies have invested in questionable securities. What were are seeing now is just the beginning and there will no doubt be continued investigations to these practices and potential charges to those involved.

  15. JH says:

    Mr. Adkins, I was not blaming minorities and so you are well informed, I am a minority. What I was trying to stress is the fact the credit was extended to those who may have been able to make the monthly payments at the time, but they really could not afford the mortgage burdens being placed on them. A family with a combined income of $60K cannot afford a $350K ARM when interest rates start increasing. Unfortunately, people have been burdened with these mortgages because they seemed affordable at the time. When money is required for other things, i.e. food, gas, utilities and the daily living expenses, the increase in the monthly mortgage payments have caused many to go unpaid, resulting in foreclosures.

  16. Jim Anderson Stivers says:

    Mr. Adkins,

    It is way to early to be making prognostications on the legal aspects of this scandal.

    How can this much worth disappear and some form of dishonesty not occur?

    The interview with Couric on CBS last night further emphasizes the woman is not ready to be Vice President.

    And John McCain . . . how health is he?

    JAS in Frankfort

  17. Jim Anderson Stivers says:

    The woman

    Governor Palin.

    my bad . . . jas