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Sunday, May 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bailout split voting surprising

By Betsy Z. Russell Staff writer

BOISE – It seems that politics makes for odd allies.

Debbie Holmes, the Democrat running against 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson, points out an odd note in the concern this week over the House’s failed vote on Monday to pass a $700 billion financial bailout bill: While Idaho’s two GOP congressmen split, both of their Democratic challengers agreed with them.

1st District Rep. Bill Sali voted against the bill, and challenger Walt Minnick put out a statement saying he, too, would have voted no. 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson voted in favor of the bill, and Holmes told Eye on Boise she’d have done the same.

“One can’t help but be surprised that Simpson and Holmes (myself) were in agreement with the bailout and Sali and Minnick were in agreement against the bailout,” Holmes said in a statement. “The Republicans were against each other as were the Democrats. This is just a microcosm of what is happening nationally. Perhaps, if the bailout is as important as we are told our leaders should explain it to the populace better. I have been on the campaign trail and have been talking to the voters and they are furious (as they should be, as I am). This situation should never have been allowed to develop.”

Crapo votes against bill after claiming credit

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo voted against the big appropriations bill in the Senate last weekend, just two days after touting the millions in North Idaho research projects that he helped get included in the bill. He said, “This bill is a stop-gap and isn’t a responsible way to fund the critical programs of the government. It was presented as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition, and the American public deserves better than that. … It has been rushed through in an effort to avoid debate over the separate appropriations measures, and I cannot support this type of process.”

The spending bill, which funds everything from the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security in 2009 to veterans affairs, loans to auto manufacturers and home heating assistance for the low-income, passed the Senate last Saturday on a 78-12 vote. Two days earlier, Crapo joined Idaho Sen. Larry Craig and 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson in touting the millions in high-tech defense research projects the bill funds in North Idaho. Crapo said then, “It is rewarding to see that Congress is, once again, recognizing the important national security contributions made by Idaho universities, research entities and businesses. These critical projects are among the most cutting-edge research efforts anywhere in the country.”

He personally brought two of those North Idaho projects to the table for consideration: A $2 million appropriation for Unitech Composites Inc. in Hayden to develop and provide the Army with lighter compressed air canisters for helicopters, and $1 million for Alliant Techsystems of Lewiston, formerly Blount, to develop lighter-weight aluminum cartridges for ammunition for use by the Army.

Craig voted in favor of the bill, as did Simpson. Sali voted against it, and didn’t sign on to the news release with the other three delegation members touting the North Idaho projects, which also include millions for research at the University of Idaho and the U.S. Navy installation at Bayview.

State to AIG customers: Be wary

Idaho state Department of Insurance Director Bill Deal is warning AIG insurance policy holders to be wary of pitches to switch their insurance. “AIG’s insurance companies are financially sound, with substantially more in assets than they need to pay all valid present and projected claims,” Deal said this week. “Don’t make any rash decisions if you have a policy issued by an AIG insurance company. If you have a life insurance or annuity policy and someone tells you to replace it because of the troubles at AIG’s parent company, we encourage you to call us immediately.”

He added, “If someone tells you to replace any policy because an AIG insurance company is in trouble and may not be able to pay your claim, that is not only untrue, it is against the law. Call us. Some regulators have received reports that this is happening. Our job is to protect consumers from improper sales practices.”

He noted that replacing, canceling or liquidating insurance policies or annuities can have hidden costs and tax consequences, which are legally required to be disclosed to consumers.

Betsy Z. Russell can be reached toll-free at (866) 336-2854 or For more news from Boise go to boise.

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