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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Next Up, Ben Chandler.

From the Arena:

Rep. Ben Chandler, D-6th District, was among those who voted against the financial rescue plan today in the U.S. House.

The case wasn't made for it, Chandler told me just a few minutes ago.

"Nor was it proved that this plan was the proper antidote for whatever crisis we do face," the lawmaker said.

"There's real doubt as to how great a crisis this is, and real doubt as to whether this is the antidote," Chandler said. "To pass such a measure, to the tune of $700 billion, in a turnaround time of 10 days, when you haven't even had the opportunity to hear from people who have alternate solutions to the problem is a pretty hard sell."

The rescue plan is being considered "in a climate where it's referred to as a bailout for fat cats on Wall Street, and this was a measure that was viewed by many as just that."

A $700 billion rescue package looks like Wall Street's "irresponsible behavior" will be rewarded, Chandler said.

"Some of these people probably ought to be in jail," he said, referring to Wall Street CEOs. "'Let the party roll on,' that's the message that it sends."

President Bush didn't lay the groundwork for establishing that there is a crisis, Chandler said.

"In order for the Congress to do something, the public has got to feel like it should do it," he added.

"To come up here and say out of the blue that there's a crisis and it needs to be solved by the very next day, and to have it go on for a week, and not have a crisis develop and the sky fall - the president has no credibility in my view whatsoever," Chandler said. "You can't tell me the president and his people didn't see the warning signs of this earlier and didn't tell anybody."

Chandler said he believes there is still time to work out a legislative answer.

"I think the American people, if they want something done, if they are determined to have something done, they'll let us know," he said, adding that his office has received 930 communications from constituents against the rescue plan, but only 70 for it.

"I want to do what's right, and I want to find out what is right and I'm getting conflicting information," Chandler said.

He's seen 400 economists opposed to the plan, not to mention the Kentucky Bankers Association voicing its opposition, he said.

Editor's comment: Another "high five" for Ben Chandler.

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