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Serrano Votes Against Wall Street Bailout – NY Times BlogShare, Yesterday at 8:31pm
Four of New York State’s 29 representatives voted no on the $700 billion economic bailout package that the House of Representatives rejected on Monday in a historic vote, 228 to 205. The four no votes from New York State came from three Democrats — José E. Serrano of the Bronx, Kirsten E. Gillibrand from the Albany area, and Maurice D. Hinchey of south-central New York — and one Republican, John R. Kuhl Jr. of central-western New York. (See the roll call.)
Mr. Serrano, a Bronx Democrat and the only House member from New York City to vote no, explained his decision in a phone interview:
I felt it was not a situation where you should be giving large amount of money to be administered by the same people who caused the problem. I just felt it was not right to begin with.
Second, I didn’t find enough provisions that satisfied me in terms of the oversight. In so many ways it was just giving them a blank check.
I represent the poorest district in the nation, located within the richest nation and within walking distance of the wealthiest district in the nation, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
When Wall Street was doing great and these guys were giving each other $50 million bonuses, I couldn’t see anything happen to the Bronx that made me say, ‘Wow, there’s some good from what’s happening on Wall Street.’ So now, they want $700 billion — which could amount to over $1 trillion, and who knows how much more later on – and that debt would be incurred by the people of the South Bronx, directly or indirectly.
Next year, when we want to increase funding for education, health care or veterans affairs – or just keep them at the same level – we will be told that we can’t because we can’t pay down the debt.
Despite strong pressure from the House leadership, Mr. Serrano added, “I couldn’t in good conscience” support the rescue package.
Mr. Serrano acknowledged that Wall Street’s collapse could hurt Main Street even further. If so, “do my constituents suffer?” he asked rhetorically, replying, “Yes, but what was presented to us did not help my constituents at all. It in fact put them at risk, because it would saddle them with debt. Where was Wall Street when we were cutting the taxes of zillionaires and driving up the debt?”