03 October 2008

They Voted For You: The Bailout, Revised

U.S. Reps. Alan Mollohan, D-1st, and Nick Rahall, D-3rd, voted for the Senate-passed version of "historic legislation providing $700 billion in government money to bring stability to reeling financial markets," as The Associated Press reports.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-2nd, opposed the measure, which prevailed 263-171.

AP reports that before the vote, "Member after member went to the well of the chamber to voice discomfort and displeasure with many aspects of the bailout legislation. But they also said said they would vote for it anyway. And nearly 30 who voted against it on Monday said they had changed their minds."

Update: Capito was among 108 Republicans to vote against the bill. They were joined by 63 Democrats.

Update II: President Bush signed the measure Friday. Those with coverage include Public Broadcasting (with audio), The Charleston Gazette and MetroNews.

Revisiting The Bailout: Update

Under debate in the House, the Senate-passed version of the bailout bill "advanced past a key hurdle on a 223-205 vote" Friday, The Associated Press reports.

The roll call lists Reps. Alan Mollohan, D-1st, and Nick Rahall, D-3rd, voting for "providing for consideration of the Senate amendments." Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-2nd, voted against.

Manchin Weighing Wall Street Lawsuit

Gov. Joe Manchin tells The Associated Press that "West Virginia could end up suing investment firms at the center of the national financial crisis, and perhaps some of their former executives."

"Manchin says the firms should be held accountable if they breached their duties to shareholders," the article said. "He says the state may also target firm executives who pocketed hefty exit packages."

The state had holdings in all of the major firms that have been bought out, bailed out or bankrupted in the ongoing financial turmoil: Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, AIG and Washington Mutual.

The article also notes that these investments amount to a fraction of a percent of the state's nearly $11 billion portfolio.

In advance of Friday's possible House vote on a revised bailout package, Public Broadcasting (with audio) and MetroNews (also with audio) each hear from different West Virginia University economics professors on that proposal and the roots of the crisis.

Update: Manchin tells the Charleston Daily Mail that the "Wall Street turmoil is hampering the state's ability to raise money for a variety of needs ranging from highway projects to improvements at community and technical colleges."

U.S. House Revisits Bailout

Public Broadcasting reports that "Representative Shelley Moore Capito is signaling she may change her vote on a bailout package, as her chamber takes up the Senate-passed version (audio here).

Capito, R-2nd, has cast the sole "nay" vote among the state's five-member delegation on the bailout issue. But as The Associated Press reports, "Republicans and Democrats were jumping aboard the bailout as the House sped toward a make-or-break vote — a much-anticipated do-over after the plan met with a stunning defeat Monday, triggering a historic stock market plunge."

"It was still unclear, though, whether leaders would have the dozen or so supporters needed to pass the measure," the AP article continues.

That dispatch did not include Capito among those commenting on whether they may change their vote. She also did not appear in a roundup of House member views from Politico, or its earlier list of a dozen representatives who could help pass the revised legislation.

MetroNews hears from both Capito and Anne Barth, her Democratic challenger, in advance of Friday's expected vote.

02 October 2008

Election 2008: Shorts

  • The Mountain Party's candidate for governor, Jesse Johnson, has sued to get in on the West Virginia Broadcasters Association's gubernatorial debate set for Oct. 13, The Associated Press reports. Its 2004 nominee, "the Charleston actor and director failed four years ago in an attempt to get a court injunction to be included in that debate," AP notes. The Charleston Gazette and MetroNews also have items.
  • U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-3rd, weighs in on the bailout issue with The Register-Herald of Beckley.
  • U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-2nd, explains her vote on the bailout issue to a Capital High School audience, The Charleston Gazette reports.

They Voted For You: Bailout, Part Deux

U.S. Sens. Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va., each voted for the latest version of the $700 billion bailout/buy-in/rescue legislation sought to aid the financial services sector.

The measure prevailed 74-25. Fifteen Republicans, nine Democrats and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont voted against it. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., did not vote.

"Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, made rare appearances to cast 'aye' votes, as did Obama’s running mate, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware," The Associated Press reports.

The Senate Banking Committee has the complete text of the bill, as well as a one-page summary and a section-by-section analysis.

Though dubbed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, what passed the Senate late Wednesday also includes an "Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008," and a "Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008."

As AP explains, "senators loaded the economic rescue bill with tax breaks and other sweeteners before passing it," including "$110 billion in tax breaks for businesses and the middle class, plus a provision to raise, from $100,000 to $250,000, the cap on federal deposit insurance."

But the measure's core contains what helped kill the House version on Monday: language that "lets the government spend billions of dollars to buy bad mortgage-related securities and other devalued assets held by troubled financial institutions," the AP article said.

"In the House, leaders were working feverishly to convert enough opponents of the bill to push it through by Friday," AP also reports. "President Bush issued a statement praising the Senate’s move."

01 October 2008

Manchin Gets Pro-Life Nod

Gov. Joe Manchin has won the backing of West Virginians for Life heading into the final month of the general election season, the Herald-Dispatch of Huntington reports.

Having a similar stance on the subject as Manchin, GOP challenger Russ Weeks has sought to raise abortion as an issue in their race. Weeks argues that the governor "has been paying 'lip service' to anti-abortion forces since taking office in 2005," The Associated Press reported earlier.

Update: The Register-Herald of Beckley reports that "Weeks is disappointed the state’s largest anti-abortion vehicle, West Virginians for Life, has snubbed him in this year’s gubernatorial election in favor of Gov. Joe Manchin."

West Virginia & Wall St.

Gov. Joe Manchin and other state leaders have planned a Wednesday press conference at the Capitol "to address concerns over the financial health of West Virginia following this week's failure of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout proposal," The Associated Press reports.

Manchin has repeatedly sought to offer assurances regarding the state's "Rainy Day" fund and its annual budget, as The Intelligencer of Wheeling, the Charleston Daily Mail, WOWK-TV and others have reported.

The executive director of West Virginia's Investment Management Board earlier told AP that the the state's diversified portfolio has helped insulate it from the woes of Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the like.

MetroNews, meanwhile, has interviewed each of the state's U.S. House members about Monday's rejected bailout bill. It offers audio of Reps. Alan Mollohan, D-1st; Shelley Moore Capito, R-2nd; and Nick Rahall, D-3rd.

The Charleston Gazette has the reaction of Democrat Anne Barth, Capito's challenger, to the current economic crisis.

Public Broadcasting (with audio) and The Intelligencer also report on the delegation's votes on the bill.

Looking ahead, AP has details of the pending Senate version of the bailout measure.

30 September 2008

Election 2008 Roundup

  • Gov. Joe Manchin has nearly $2 million on hand heading in to the final weeks of the election season, The Associated Press reports. AP has campaign finance figures for other Board of Public Works races, while both The Charleston Gazette and WSAZ-TV have items on the gubernatorial contest.
  • AP also reports that while Manchin may have raised more cash, the candidates for state Supreme Court have spent more in that two-seat race. Republican Beth Walker begins the home stretch with a 2-to-1 cash advantage over both Democrats, Margaret Workman and Menis Ketchum.

29 September 2008

They Voted For You: The Bailout

U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-2nd, helped defeat the $700 billion bailout proposal meant to help Wall Street weather the latest financial crisis.

Reps. Alan Mollohan, D-1st, and Nick Rahall, D-3rd, voted for the "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008," which failed 205-228.

As President Bush had proposed the original bailout language and championed the bill's passage, "Monday's mind-numbing vote had been preceded by unusually aggressive White House lobbying," The Associated Press reports. "When the critical vote was tallied, too few members of the House were willing to support the unpopular measure with elections just five weeks away. Ample no votes came from both the Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle."

Update: The House Rules Committee offers both a summary and the full text of the failed measure.

Update II: Others with coverage include The Charleston Gazette, MetroNews and WOWK-TV.

Judge Allows W.Va. Electioneering "Fix" -- For Now (UPDATED)

A federal judge has agreed to rescind his earlier order blocking West Virginia's reporting requirements for certain independent political ads.

Secretary of State Betty Ireland had asked U.S. District Judge David Faber to dissolve the April decision, citing the recent special session legislation that aimed to address his constitutional concerns.

(Update) But as The Associated Press reports, "Monday’s order does not say the legislative fix passes constitutional muster. It instead notes that a Virginia group fighting disclosure can seek a new ruling."

The electioneering communications law mandates spending reports for individuals and groups not already covered by such requirements, for ads in an array of formats that refer to a clearly identified candidate.

Though the requirements cover ads within 60 days of the general election, the recent legislation does not take effect until Wednesday.

The Charleston Gazette also report's on Monday's ruling from Faber.

W.Va. and The Bailout

The Associated Press queried each member of West Virginia's congressional delegation about a dozen of the more prominent provisions of the various Wall Street rescue proposals under discussion on Capitol Hill.

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., proved the most specific with his responses. Of the rest, there appeared a consensus that any bailout plan "should require independent oversight of its spending, and impose some limits on executive compensation at the banks seeking rescue," AP reports.

Of the challenger candidates this year, only Republican Marty Gearheart answered each question posed.

AP also details the bailout (or "buy-in") agreement, with a House vote expected Monday and the Senate's on Wednesday.

The Parkersburg News also hears from Rockefeller about the pending legislation.