Local lawmakers Kaptur, Latta help sink bailout

SANDUSKY Not so fast! The two local lawmakers on Capitol Hill -- one a liberal Democr
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010



Not so fast!

The two local lawmakers on Capitol Hill -- one a liberal Democrat and the other a conservative Republican -- joined other dissenting lawmakers Monday to help sink the $700 billion bailout bill.

Both U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, and U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, said they felt rushed to approve a flawed measure.

"We need the right deal, not a fast deal," Kaptur said in a statement issued by her office. "The White House is counting on fear to propel this Congress into hasty and inappropriate action on a Wall Street bailout that is not in the interest of our Republic."

Kaptur's district includes Erie and Ottawa counties.

Latta, whose district includes Huron County, also said Monday's action was hasty.

"Because of this legislative fast track, there are still many unanswered questions and provisions within this bill that I cannot support," he said.

After the House axed the bailout, the Dow Jones industrial stocks fell 777.68 points.

"This is the wrong medicine to address what's troubling the markets," said Kaptur, who spoke to the Register after the stock market closed. "Even with its passage, there was no certainty that the markets would be healed."

Kaptur said the main problem with the economy is twofold: A credit crisis due to poor accounting standards and the continuing wave of housing foreclosures. She said the bill does little to address either problem.

The House is expected to reconvene Thursday, and Kaptur said she will be working on alternative legislation.

Latta said the House Republican leadership succeeded in making big improvements over the original draft of the bill, but said it was still too broad and would leave taxpayers exposed to too much risk.

Although the bill is supposed to deal with problems in the financial system caused by bad mortgages, the bill as written allows the secretary of the treasury to purchase a wide variety of troubled assets.

"That could be credit card debt," Latta said. "That could be car loans. That could be student loans ... we're talking about a ton of money here. The taxpayers are the ones we need to protect."

Although Congress planned to go on vacation last week, he said he's prepared to stay in Washington until a better bill can be prepared.

"I'm prepared to be here until the end of the year to get a good bill out of here," he said.

Latta and Kaptur disagree on one key proposal.

Kaptur said bankruptcy judges should be allowed to rewrite the terms of home mortgages and release credit card holders from their debt.

But Latta said he was pleased Republicans succeeded in forcing House leaders to drop a provision allowing judges to change mortgage terms. The provision would undermine contract law and make it harder for potential homeowners to obtain loans because it would be impossible for lenders to know how much the loan is really worth, Latta said.