Massa Press Conference: Bailout and Debates

Eric Massa had a well-attended and lengthy press conference this morning. Highlights below:

Massa said the bailout bill, as currently written, is "simply unacceptable". He said that the Bush Administration is planning a "my way or the highway" approach on the bill.

This bill is the culmination of 8 years of incompetence by the Bush administration and their rubber stamps in Congress. For the month to 6 weeks, people like my opponent stood in the well of the House and railed on a moratorium on drilling offshore while Rome burned. To top off their common hypocrisy, that very moratorium expired yesterday, as they knew it would. These kinds of games are unacceptable while American's livelihoods and homes are at risk.

Massa turned to debates. Massa objected to the contention that he would bus in supporters, noting that the only bus that showed up at last year's WETM debate was paid for by Kuhl's campaign.

Kuhl has been silent in the face of one of the greatest financial crises in the history of America. He's shown no leadership whatsoever in the face of the pending collapse of the stock market [...] Now he refuses to debate. [...] Incumbent elected officials should not be granted the privilege of dictating democracy. To say that I had a "circus environment" because I was bold enough to walk up to him after a press conference outside the room where it was held and ask him for a debate is unacceptable.

Massa compared Kuhl's silence to that of George W. Bush. Noting that Bush won't stand up in front of the American people because he's responsible for the financial crisis, Massa said that Kuhl won't stand up because he'll have to explain his votes.

Yesterday, at a time of incredible risk for the American People, Randy Kuhl voted against HR 5244, The Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights. This would have prevented credit card companies from going long on fees and interest. Eighty Republicans crossed the aisle to support [the bill]. I say he voted against it because of the huge amount of funding he's received from financial institutions.

Massa listed off some of the $230,000 in support given to Kuhl, including donations form Goldman, Citi, Merrill and Credit Suisse. "This list reads like a Who's-Who on the failures of Wall Street."


Massa is full of it - there is plenty of blame to share on both sides of the aisle.

Maybe Eric will vote for McCain seeing how much money Obama took from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Congress is no hero, I agree.

But I do agree with Massa that Bush deserves a lot of the blame. If his SEC, Treasury and Fed Reserve people had been a little more on the ball, they could have clamped down on the worst of the mortgage-backed security b.s.. Instead, we're supposed to panic now, a couple of years after most smart economists started to say that a problem was brewing.

I saw that the other day and wondered how much of it was spin, since Republicans controlled the Senate in 2005. Here's another, colorful, perspective from Rep Mike Oxley, R-OH. He's the Oxley in Sarbanes-Oxley, btw.

He fumes about the criticism of his House colleagues. “All the handwringing and bedwetting is going on without remembering how the House stepped up on this,” he says. “What did we get from the White House? We got a one-finger salute.”

The House bill, the 2005 Federal Housing Finance Reform Act, would have created a stronger regulator with new powers to increase capital at Fannie and Freddie, to limit their portfolios and to deal with the possibility of receivership.

Mr Oxley reached out to Barney Frank, then the ranking Democrat on the committee and now its chairman, to secure support on the other side of the aisle. But after winning bipartisan support in the House, where the bill passed by 331 to 90 votes, the legislation lacked a champion in the Senate and faced hostility from the Bush administration.

Adamant that the only solution to the problems posed by Fannie and Freddie was their privatisation, the White House attacked the bill. Mr Greenspan also weighed in, saying that the House legislation was worse than no bill at all.

“We missed a golden opportunity that would have avoided a lot of the problems we’re facing now, if we hadn’t had such a firm ideological position at the White House and the Treasury and the Fed,” Mr Oxley says.

BTW -- Credit where it's due, Randy voted for the bill in the House.