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Candidates differ over bailout

Wed., Oct. 1, 2008, midnight

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ Democratic opponent Mark Mays called her vote against the bailout package short-sighted and “reckless,” but the Republican defended her decision Tuesday.

Like Washington’s two other Republicans and one Democratic House member, McMorris Rodgers voted against a plan that would have allowed the federal government to buy bad mortgages and other problem assets from troubled financial institutions. The plan had a potential price tag of $700 billion.

She said she went back and forth on how to vote over the weekend, as members of Congress sat through meetings on the emerging plan.

On Monday, she said, people began raising doubts that the proposal would fix the problem, and she decided to vote no.

“We need to make sure we get this right,” McMorris Rodgers said in a radio interview Tuesday morning during “On the Record” with Rebecca Mack.

A plan that included changes in accounting rules that determine how some assets are valued, reforms to subprime mortgages and more help for community banks could get her support, she said.

“I still believe Congress needs to act. Everyone I talked to believes Congress needs to act,” McMorris Rodgers said in a separate interview with The Spokesman-Review.

But Mays said the bill on the floor Monday, although imperfect, offered the best chance to act because the economy has reached a “tipping point.”

“It’s a stop-gap solution … but we’ve got to do something,” Mays told the Gonzaga Young Democrats Monday night.

Sometimes it’s OK for the government to stand back and let markets make corrections, just as sometimes it’s acceptable for parents to stand back and let children learn from their mistakes, Mays said. But voting against the package was like allowing a child to play in traffic so he’ll learn it’s a bad idea, he said.

“The world’s economy is playing on a freeway, and there are semis coming at a very fast pace,” Mays said.

He said he would have voted yes on the package, even with its flaws.

Jim Camden can be reached at or (509) 459-5461.

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