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The good news: There’s at least one Republican looking out for you and standing against the next massive bailout boondoogle.
The bad news: He’s up against President Bush and the rest of the Beltway housing bailout capitulationists.
You know what we say: We’re Screwed ’08.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has earned a reputation for stalling Senate business and annoying Democrats, but today he turned his fire on President Bush.
Shortly after the White House backed off of its veto threat of a massive housing bill aimed at rescuing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, DeMint bemoaned the Bush administration’s flip flop.
“The president has decided he wants the bailout more than he wants to stand by his position to veto it,” DeMint said.
The White House had threatened to veto the bill because it contains $3.9 billion in Community Development Block Grant [CDBG] funds, but that money was a huge priority for liberal Democrats in both chambers who see the money as a key to helping prop up distressed urban neighborhoods.
DeMint called the CDBG money a “slush fund” and said the federal government was showing “gross incompetence” with the housing bill.
(T-shirts via Mommy Needs a Cocktail)
Update: From Sen. DeMint’s office…
Within minutes of news breaking that DeMint will fight for a vote to end Fannie/Freddie lobbying now that taxpayers are bailing them out, Reid’s office sent an S.O.S. email to K Street urging lobbyists to oppose DeMint’s amendment:
“We are informed that Sen. DeMint would like to seek an amendment to the House amendment. While we have not seen Sen. DeMint’s amendment, it’s fair to say that such an amendment could complicate debate and delay passage of the housing bill.”
The reality is that Reid’s insistence on protecting Fannie/Freddie lobbyists is what will force this debate to drag out longer than necessary. Attached is a letter from 7 Senators (DeMint, Cornyn, Bunning, Thune, Ensign, Coburn, and Sununu) asking Reid to allow a vote to ban Fannie/Freddie lobbying.
The Reid e-mail:
From: Wetjen, Mark (Reid)
Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2008 1:25 PM
Subject: Update on housing
If the House passes the housing bill and the Senate receives it today, Sen. Reid is prepared to move to proceed to the measure today, which will be the House message to H.R. 3121 (containing one amendment). While a motion to proceed to a House message is non-debatable, technically the motion still requires a majority vote, unless consent is given to proceed without a vote.
If cloture is necessary – the Republican filibuster record suggests it will be – Sen. Reid could file cloture on a motion to concur with the House amendment today. In that event, the cloture vote would ripen on Friday. If cloture is invoked, the 30-hour clock begins to run from that point in time.
We are informed that Sen. DeMint would like to seek an amendment to the House amendment. While we have not seen Sen. DeMint’s amendment, it’s fair to say that such an amendment could complicate debate and delay passage of the housing bill.
The DeMint/GOP letter:
I’ve covered the left-wing mortgage counseling racket extensively. See, for example, here.