Travis Childers Vote

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 3, 2008

Travis Childers votes against Friday’s bailout plan

By Billy Davis

Minutes before U.S. House members voted Friday to approve a controversial bailout plan for Wall Street, Rep. Travis Childers told The Panolian he would vote against the bill.

Describing his opposition to the bailout, Childers pointed to the pet projects and tax incentives that had been added to woo votes from wary House members. The additions also ballooned the cost of the bailout package from $700 billion to $850 billion, he said.

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The bailout bill passed 263 to 171 and is now headed to President George Bush, who has supported the bailout, for his signature.

The U.S. House rejected a bailout plan 228-205 on Monday, and the U.S. Senate took up a new version of the plan Wednesday. The Senate version passed 75-24, and it was the Senate plan that House members voted to adopt on Friday.

“The version the House is voting on is not the same one as Monday,” Childers said. “It’s the version the Senate passed. It’s worse than the one we saw Monday.”

Mississippi’s congressional delegation has overwhelmingly disapproved of the bailout plan. Senators Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran voted against the Senate version, and House colleagues Bennie Thompson and Gene Taylor voted against the House plans on Monday and again Friday. Only Congressman Chip Pickering has voted in favor of the bailout plan.

Various press reports have stated the original House bill was three pages in length. The Senate version had grown to more than 450 pages by the time it reached the House Thursday.

Asked if 1st District constituents were contacting his office about the bailout bill, Childers said most constituents were opposed to the bailout.

“But let me be frank with you. I’m not voting according to the phone calls,” Childers added. “I just don’t believe in putting that much debt on the people of North Mississippi.”

Childers said he attended a meeting in past days of the House Financial Services Committee, where he sits on the committee. When a committee member asked Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson if he was certain the $700 billion would fix the financial mess, Paulson answered, “No.”

The 1st District congressman said he was concerned about the record-breaking drop in the stock market after Monday’s vote – “I’m not flippant about that,” he said – but added that he could not vote “yes” without more reassurance that the financial crisis would be fixed.

Childers also allowed that the bailout plan was probably drafted too hastily from a “sky-is-falling” prediction of Depression-era economics.  

“The bottom line is I’m voting against it,” Childers said to conclude a 10-minute phone call.