Butterfield balks at bailout

Published 7:50 pm Monday, September 29, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Local representative Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-1st) veered away from the majority of his party here Monday afternoon in voting against a $700 billion economic bailout package.

The House voted down the legislation 228-205 despite leaders from both parties urging for its passage, shocking the worldwide financial market. Later, the Dow Jones industrial average closed almost 800 points down for the day, the largest single daily decrease in history.

Democrats favored the bill at a higher rate than Republicans, with 140 Democrats and 65 Republicans voting for the bill. On the “no” side were 133 Republicans and 95 Democrats.

“Without question, this is the biggest bailout in American history. Unfortunately, the rush to respond has resulted in a plan that is too risky and gives away too much without any guarantees that the problems will be corrected,” Butterfield stated in a press release issued to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald late Monday afternoon.

He continued, “While people talk about stabilizing the markets, we should be focused on stabilizing families and our rural communities. I am particularly disappointed that the package failed to include the measures needed to prevent more home foreclosures such as providing bankruptcy judges with the power to modify the terms of mortgages.”

Butterfield, of Wilson, serves North Carolina’s First Congressional District, which includes all of the Roanoke-Chowan area.

As a result of the bill’s failure in the House, its members will reconvene on Thursday instead of adjourning for the year as was previously planned.

If it had passed, the legislation would have allowed the government to buy bad mortgages and other troubled assets, which was one proposed solution for enabling financially distressed companies to be more inclined to lend to customers.

In recent weeks, the continued failures and buyouts of seemingly safe companies has burdened the financial world, sending the nation’s economy spiraling downward in what many experts are calling the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Congressional leaders from both parties have pledged to rework the plan to solve the crisis and get America back on track.

According to major news sources in North Carolina, the Tar Heel Congressional delegation voting against the measure were Democratic Representatives Heath Shuler of Waynesville and Mike McIntyre of Lumberton along with Butterfield.

The entire Republican Congressional delegation from North Carolina shot down the proposal. They included Representatives Howard Coble of Greensboro, Virginia Foxx of Banner Elk, Robin Hayes of Concord, Walter Jones of Farmville, Patrick McHenry of Cherryville and Sue Myrick of Charlotte.

Voting for the bill were North Carolina Democratic Representatives David Price of Chapel Hill, Bob Etheridge of Lillington, Brad Miller of Raleigh and Mel Watt of Charlotte.