Bush Signs Financial Rescue Plan Bill

October 2, 2008 07:00 PM
 

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Signature comes shortly after House passes rescue measure in 263-171 vote


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


President George Bush signed into law the revised financial rescue package ( Emergency Economic Stabilization Act) shortly after the House cleared the measure in a 263-171 vote earlier today.

“Americans should . . . expect that it will take some time for this legislation to have its full impact on our economy,” Bush said from the Rose Garden. “Exercising the authorities in this bill in a responsible way will require a careful analysis and deliberation. This will be done as expeditiously as possible, but it cannot be accomplished overnight. We’ll take the time necessary to design an effective program that achieves its objectives — and does not waste taxpayer dollars.”

Difference between House vote Monday and today. On Monday, the House failed to pass the measure 205-228. In that vote, 140 Democrats and 65 Republicans voted for the bill, and 95 Democrats and 133 Republicans voted against it. This time, 172 Democrats and 91 Republicans voted for it, while 63 Democrats and 108 Republicans voted against it.

The only lawmaker who switched from yes on Monday to no today was Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.).Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.) was absent for Monday's vote, but voted in favor of the package today.

Democrats switching from no to yes (33): Reps. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, Joe Baca of California, Shelley Berkley of Nevada, Bruce Braley of Iowa, Andre Carson of Indiana, Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, Donna Edwards of Maryland, Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, Al Green of Texas, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, Carolyn Kilpatrick of Michigan, Barbara Lee of California, John Lewis of Georgia, Harry Mitchell of Arizona, Solomon Ortiz of Texas, Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, Ed Pastor of Arizona, Bobby Rush of Illinois, Adam Schiff of California, David Scott of Georgia, Hilda Solis of California, Betty Sutton of Ohio, Mike Thompson of California, John Tierney of Massachusetts, Diane Watson of California, Peter Welch of Vermont, Lynn Woolsey of California, David Wu of Oregon and John Yarmuth of Kentucky.

Republicans switching from no to yes (25): Reps. Rodney Alexander of Louisiana, Gresham Barrett of South Carolina, Judy Biggert of Illinois, Charles Boustany of Louisiana, Vern Buchanan of Florida, Howard Coble of North Carolina, Michael Conaway of Texas, Charles Dent of Pennsylvania, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania, Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, Joseph Knollenberg of Michigan, Randy Kuhl of New York, Sue Myrick of North Carolina, Jim Ramstad of Minnesota, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Jean Schmidt of Ohio, John Shadegg of Arizona, Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania, John Sullivan of Oklahoma, Lee Terry of Nebraska, Mac Thornberry of Texas, Pat Tiberi of Ohio and Zach Wamp of Tennessee.

The revised measure creates a 700 billion “troubled asset relief program.” The program gives the Treasury secretary authority to buy up the illiquid mortgage assets that are hampering the financial sector’s ability to offer credit.

The funding is provided in installments, making $250 billion available immediately and $100 billion upon the president’s certification. A final installment of $350 billion would be available pending a Congressional vote.

Energy tax incentives a big add-on. Revised financial rescue proposal includes several energy-related and other tax incentives that would cost more than $18 billion over 10 years. The Senate measure includes several revenue-raising offsets to fully offset the cost of these energy-tax provisions. Some notable energy incentives in plan:

-- Alternative energy: Extends and modifies the existing Section 45 credit for producing energy from certain alternative sources, including extending the credit through 2009 for wind and refined coal facilities, and through 2010 for other sources, such as closed-loop biomass, open-loop biomass, geothermal, small irrigation, hydropower, landfill gas, and trash combustion facilities. Unlike recent House versions of this provision, however, it does not place a cap on the amount of the credit that could be claimed, nor does it repeal current-law phaseout provisions.

-- Alternative Fuel Property: Extends for one year, through 2010, a 30 percent credit for alternative refueling properties, such as E-85 and natural gas pumps, while also expanding the credit to cover electric vehicle recharging property, at a cost of $87 million over 10 years. (As under current law, the maximum credit would be $30,000.)

-- Depreciation Rule: Allows various types of cellulosic biofuels, and not only cellulosic ethanol, to qualify for a 50 percent depreciation rule.

-- Biodiesel & Renewable Diesel Credits: Extends through 2009 the $1 per gallon credit for producing biodiesel, the $1 per gallon credit for producing diesel from biomass, and the 10 percent credit for small biodiesel producers. It also eliminates requirements that renewable diesel be produced using a thermal depolymerization process and clarifying that credits for fuels are designed for fuels produced and used domestically. The changes have a net cost of $451 million over 10 years.


Comments: This is far from the end of this financial saga. Congressional hearings have already been scheduled on the causes and effects of the financial crisis. And looking to 2009 and a new president and Congress, an overhaul of financial industry regulations will be a major focus.


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


 

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