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The public is skeptical of the massive Wall Street bailout plan pending on Capitol Hill. So during the first presidential debate, both candidates were reluctant to say precisely where they stood on the proposal that is likely to cost about $700-billion.
The same is true on Capitol Hill, where House Republicans sank a plan offered by a president from their own party, and offered one of their own that would include less taxpayer money. During the debate, John McCain complained that the House GOP members had been left out.
"I went back to Washington, and I met with my Republicans in the House of Representatives. And they weren't part of the negotiations, and I understand that," McCain said. "And it was the House Republicans that decided that they would be part of the solution to this problem."
But they were and are. If McCain's point is that Republicans have felt that Democrats – and President Bush – have tried to rush a deal, there's more evidence for that. When Democrats and President Bush claimed a deal was at hand on Sept. 25, 2008, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said there was no deal. "There may be a deal among some Democrats, but House Republicans are not a part of it," he said.
Soon, House Republicans revealed that they were pushing a rival plan that would offer government insurance to failing firms in place of Bush's strategy, which involves the government purchasing bad debts held by U.S. and foreign banks.
Charges and countercharges flew. Republicans said Democrats were trying to rush a deal and prevent McCain – who had suspended his campaign to return to Washington to participate in the negotiations – from helping to forge an agreement. Democrats said Republicans were delaying unnecessarily in order to allow McCain to score political points.
But later that day, as Congressional Quarterly reported, Boehner's tone had moderated. "The speaker and I have worked together to try and craft a bipartisan plan that will pass the House," he said.
On its face, McCain's remark clearly is not accurate because Republicans were part of the discussion. But we'll give McCain a few points because it also is clear that Republicans didn't feel fully involved in negotiations because they expressed their frusration by killing the plan proposed by Bush. We'll rate it Barely True.
Editor's note: This statement was rated Barely True when it was published. On July 27, 2011, we changed the name for the rating to Mostly False.
Congressional Quarterly, " Bailout Negotiators Have 'Fundamental Agreement' on Principles of Bailout," By Benton Ives and Alan K. Ota, Sept. 25, 2008
New York Times, "Day of Chaos Grips Washington; Fate of Bailout Plan Unresolved," by David M. Herszenhorn, Carl Hulse and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Sept. 26, 2008
New York Times, "Congress Pushes to End Impasse on Bailout," By David M. Herszenhorn, Sept. 26, 2008
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