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Monday, September 29, 2008
The Partisan Speech that Cost (Saved?) $700 Billion

Notes on the bailout package's defeat in the House today, including the Nancy Pelosi speech that might have killed it.

The much-ballyhooed $700 million financial bailout package was defeated today in the House of Representatives by a vote of 228 to 205. Think about that for a minute, and you'll see that if 12 of the nays had voted aye, it would have passed.

Whether the bailout as proposed was good or bad, or just the best thing that was politically feasible, is a larger question. I doubt the economy will suffer catastrophe without the bailout, but that's a larger question, too.

In any case, the defeat was a bipartisan effort; nearly as many Democrats as Republicans voted nay. But the word on the Hill today is that the bill was going to pass -- that House Minority Leader John Boehner had enough Republican votes lined up to pass it -- until House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave an aggressively partisan speech near the end of the scheduled three-hour floor debate. Here's a short story about it and a longer analysis, and here you can watch the speech. It's between five and six minutes long.

Here's a useful perspective on the current economic turmoil from Mona Charen.

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