In a stunning rebuke to President Bush, congressional leaders and Wall Street, the House rejected a $700 billion financial bailout package Monday, with a coalition of conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats refusing to grant the government sweeping powers to buy up distressed loans.
The vote was 228-205 against the measure, with one member not voting. There was broad bipartisan opposition to the measure, with more than 90 Democrats and more than 130 Republicans voting against the bill. Republicans voted more than 2-1 to oppose the bill.
The vote came even though the measure was backed by Bush and House leaders in both parties. But opponents said the package granted the U.S. government too much power and and was beyond the cost the government should pay to address the worldwide financial crisis.
Wall Street reacted immediately to the news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by more than 700 points at one point as the outcome became clear. After the vote, the Dow remained down by more than 550 points.
It's noteworthy that 90 Democrats voted against this bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who had reportedly said earlier in the process that she needed the political cover of at least half of the House GOP. She said nothing about getting her own party on board.
Some GOP congressmen pointed to her speech this morning from the House floor where she blamed President Bush's fiscal policies were to blame for the trouble Wall Street is in. Other Republicans would not specifically blame Pelosi, but rather that the bill did not have enough protections for the taxpayers. Some have indicated an uneasiness with the way Treasury Secretary Harry Paulson handled the bailout proocess.
There is a chance the bill could be reconsidered today. "We could take this bill back to the floor with a motion to reconsider an hout from now," if modifications could be made to protect the taxpayers, Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz) said.