Which Dems Voted Against Obama on TARP?

Jan 16, 2009 11:02am

Wondering just which Democrats voted to NOT let President-elect Barack Obama have access to the remaining $350 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds?

And which Republicans voted to let him have at it?

From our Senate booth, ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf tells us that if you look at the roll call, you can see that nine Democratic senators voted against giving Obama the money (for the anti-TARP resolution).

They were:

Perennial vice presidential bridesmaid Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Bernie Sanders of Vermont (technically an Independent), Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Ron Wyden of Oregon.

Wolf and ABC News’ Vic Ratner note that of these nine, five are up for re-election in 2010: Bayh, Dorgan, Feingold, Lincoln, and Wyden.

Six Republicans voted to give Obama the money (a Nay vote on the resolution):

GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Jon Kyl of Arizona, Dick Lugar of Indiana, Olympia Snowe of Maine and George Voinovich of Ohio.

Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., did not vote.

And in the interest of Senate comity, two senators who were present and would have voted against giving President-elect Obama the money — Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Jon Tester, D-Mont. — refrained from voting because two colleagues who would have voted to let Obama have the TARP funds, Sens. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, were unable to make the vote.

– jpt

UPDATE: ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf adds: Sen. John McCain’s was the most obvious turnaround on the TARP funding vote in the Senate yesterday, by which senators agreed to write President-elect Obama a $350 billion blank check with his assurance via letters from economic adviser Larry Summers that the money would be spent with greater accountability than it has been under President Bush.

"No further TARP funds should be released until we are able to impose strict standards of accountability and ensure that the money is spent only as intended by Congress –- to purchase mortgage-backed securities and other troubled assets and provide help to homeowners who are on the brink of losing their most important investment and roofs over their heads," said McCain in a written statement.

McCain had suspended his presidential campaign in September to make a show of coming to Washington and helping create the $700 billion TARP bill that ultimately became law. He also said after the TARP vote on Thursday that he opposed the use of some of the first $350 billion in funds to bail out the American auto industry.

But McCain’s was not the only about face since the November election.

There are seven new Democratic senators in office after the November election. And an eighth, Al Franken in Minnesota, is ahead in the vote count pending a court battle.

All but two of those new Democrats ran against the original TARP legislation as an unjust bailout for Wall Street fat cats. Mark Warner of Virginia and Mark Begich of Alaska both said during the campaign they would support the bill. But the other six Democrats who defeated, unseated (or seem poised to unseat) Republicans, all said they’d oppose the bill.

Cousins Tom and Mark Udall from New Mexico and Colorado respectively voted against the TARP bill in the House, but for releasing the second half of funds yesterday.

“The circumstances have now changed," said Tom Udall in a statement explaining his vote. "President-elect Obama has committed to me that in using these funds he will carefully reinvest in our economy with increased accountability and oversight to help stabilize our middle class. He also committed to implementing the needed safeguards I have been advocating from the outset of this debate. "

But back in October, before his election to the Senate, Udall said he voted against the bailout because "it did too little for homeowners, too much for executives, and nothing to prevent Wall Street from repeating the mistakes that got us into this crisis … It will still put New Mexico and U.S. taxpayer on the hook for $700 billion to bail out Wall Street, the very people whose irresponsibility helped to undermine America’s economy and threaten the jobs and life savings of millions of American families…"

It was a similar story for his cousin Mark in Colorado.

Jeff Merkeley in Oregon ran an ad attacking then-Sen. Gordon Smith for supporting the TARP legislation, but on Thursday, after taking the seat from Smith, Merkeley voted to release the second half of the money he thought never should have been passed in the first place.

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