Oregon delegation splits its vote

Oregon's lawmakers were split Monday as the House rejected a $700 billion emergency rescue for the nation's financial system.

Three Oregon members of the House — all Democrats — voted against the measure, while two supported it. The 225-208 vote came despite urgent warnings from President Bush and congressional leaders of both parties that the economy could nosedive into recession without it.

Oregon members voting in favor of the bill were Republican Rep. Greg Walden and Democrat Darlene Hooley. Democrats Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio and David Wu voted against it.

A spokesman for Walden said the 2nd District congressman voted for the bill only after the original version was changed.

"Congressman Walden was never supportive of the original Bush policy blank-check plan," said Walden spokesman Andrew Whelan.

He said Walden wanted more taxpayer protections in the bill and wanted to make sure executives of the benefiting financial institutions didn't receive golden parachutes.

"Those executives who rode companies into the ground shouldn't receive million-dollar bonuses from the taxpayers," he said.

The failure of Congress to act led to the largest one-day drop in stock market history of more than 770 points, Whelan noted.

"This is the kind of thing we were hoping to prevent," he said.

The danger now is that the credit crunch could hurt jobs, student loans and retirement plans, said Whelan.

Walden, who was in transit to Oregon Monday after the vote, will return to Washington if the leadership teams in Congress can iron out their differences, Whelan said.

First District Congressman Wu said action will be necessary to protect Americans' jobs, retirements and financial security.

"Unfortunately, this hasty bill was not the right answer," he said.

The bill "put up taxpayer money without a commitment from the government that they would be paid back," Wu said, criticizing as weak language in bill requiring that a future president offer Congress a proposal to help taxpayers recoup any losses that they suffered.

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