SourceWatch talk:Project:Record on Bailout

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This is the talk page of the former landing page of a 2008 project on the bailout legislation. You can click these hot links for more current information about the Total Wall Street Bailout Cost and our Real Economy Project.

2008 Vote on the Wall Street Bailout

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 is a plan to purchase and insure troubled assets from struggling financial institutions, using $700 billion in taxpayer money. The assets include bad mortgages and securities backed by mortgages. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson - and his successor - were granted broad authority to purchase the assets, and equity in the financial institutions.

Debate over the legislation in Congress was heated, especially in the House of Representatives, where the first vote on the act was defeated on Sept. 29 by a 228-205 margin. The Senate approved a modified version on Oct. 1, adding earmarks and tax rebates to the package. On Oct. 3, the House voted a second time, passing the bill by a 263-171 margin.

Archiving key information about 2008 project:


  1. First, you'll need to log in to edit (this prevents vandalism and spam). Click on the "Log in" link at the top-right corner of your browser window. If you haven't registered with SourceWatch, all you need is an email address (it won't go on any mailing lists) and it just takes a minute. Click here to register and then come back.
  2. Now you'll need to find your representative's profile. If you already know who your representative is, you can find them listed on the Congresspedia state portal for your state, which you can select from the map here. Or, if you don't know your representative, click here to find out who it is.
    • Note: It's best to right-click that link and others on this page (or for Mac users, open-apple-click the link) to open them in a new window. This allows you to easily refer back to these instructions.
  3. Next, look to see if someone else has added information already about the financial crisis bull. Look for anything under the heading of "Bailout" or "Economic Stabilization" or anything like that. Someone may have filled information in earlier but not have included the most recent vote, so look for a last paragraph that starts "On October 3, the House again put the bill up for a vote...".
  4. What did you find on your representative's page? Pick one of the options below:
    • It already had information on both of the bailout votes. Great, that means you have other concerned citizens in your district! This is a good thing.
    • It had no information on the bailout votes. You'll need to enter the information in (don't worry, it's easy). Proceed to step 5.
  5. Before you can enter information in you'll need to find out where they stood on the votes. Here are the lists of the first and second votes. Find your representative on these lists and write down how they voted. "Abstain" generally means they were absent for the vote. (You might want to open these links in new windows.)
  6. Now go back to your representative's page and find the "Record and controversies" section heading (it's near the top, under the table of contents) and click the "[edit]" link next to it.
  7. Highlight, copy and paste in the following paragraphs, making sure to substitute the name of your representative where it says "INSERT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE'S NAME HERE" and inserting "for", "against" or "abstain" according to the votes you found, in order:

    ==2008 financial crisis bill==

    In September 2008, the Bush Administration unveiled a plan to use federal money to help the struggling financial sector. Treasury Secretary [[Henry Paulson]] proposed spending up to $700 billion to purchase troubled mortgages and mortgage-backed securities from participating firms. Due to a complicated and opaque trading system, the value of many such assets was unknown, and a rapid rise in foreclosures meant many mortgages might not be repaid. By taking taxpayer funds and purchasing some of the bad debt, the Administration hoped to cease fears that had led to a halt in bank-to-bank lending.

    Following negotiations between congressional leaders and the Bush Administration, the House of Representatives on Sept. 29 voted on the [[Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008]]. INSERT REPRESENTATIVE'S NAME HERE voted (FOR/AGAINST/ABSTAIN) the bill, which was defeated 225-208. The package would have granted broad authority to the Treasury Secretary to purchase troubled assets using $700 billion in taxpayer funding.

    Following the House vote, on Oct. 1 the Senate approved a modified version of the bill. Senators included additional oversights over the Treasury Department, and they packaged the bill with a series of tax rebates and several earmarks. They also limited the amount of funding available to $350 billion. Congress would be required to sign off on the remaining %350 billion.

    On Oct. 3, the House held a second vote on the bailout bill. INSERT YOUR REPRENSENTATIVE'S NAME HERE voted (FOR/AGAINST/ABSTAIN) the bill. It was approved by the House, and, later that day, President Bush signed it into law. For details on the bill and the debate, see the main [[Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008|2008 financial crisis bill page]].

That's it! Make sure to hit the "save page" below the editing window and write a few words about what you did in the "Summary" box above that button (in this case something like "adding health care record will do").

This participatory project was featured from Oct. 7-14, 2008. You can help out by pitching in here or by checking out the other things you can do at the main "things you can do" page. Please contact the staff editors if you need any assistance.