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Some in House are still undecided
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Scott Jagow: Everybody’s waiting on the House vote today on the rescue package. We’re joined now by Congressman Mike Conaway from Texas, as Marketplace continues its coverage of the financial crisis. He’s a Republican and he voted against the House bill on Monday. Congressman, how you gonna vote today?
Mike Conaway: Well, I’m still undecided. You know, the increase in the FDIC insurance helped, that was a change I wanted to have happened. Tax extenders, were they to come over in a stand-alone bill just like that, I’d vote for it in a heartbeat. It’s creating some problems, though, back in the district, because it kind of looks like Washington as usual, they’re trying to buy votes.
Jagow: Well those incentives that were tossed into this package were designed to get the support of people like you. Are you saying that’s backfired?
Conaway: Well no, I mean, I’m just saying that it hurt, with folks back home it just looks bad. You know, I should be able to vote for this bill on a stand-alone basis because I think it’s the right thing to do.
Jagow: Well if you do vote yes, what will have changed your mind?
Conaway: Well, the continuing risk that I see to the underlying liquidity markets, there is significant risk to that money flow that happens every night. That whole system that I used to be a part of when I was in banking, and every night, companies have excess cash that they loan to companies that have needs for it. That happens every single night, it’s kind of the oil of the lubricant that keeps the gears of this economy moving. And if for some reason that stops happening, then that’ll send shock waves, there’ll be lots of jobs lost, you know, value on Wall Street gone, the securities markets will evaporate. And that’s the thing that’s being tried to avoid.
Jagow: Congressman, what have your constituents been telling you since you voted against the bailout package on Monday?
Conaway: I had two town hall meetings in Andrews, Texas on Wednesday, and you don’t get more middle America than Andrews, Texas. At the start of each of those meetings, a lot of congratulations, back slapping, you know, way to go, you did the right thing and all this kind of stuff. And so as I would walk them through my concerns about why we’re dealing with this, the mood got a lot more somber, they became a lot less assured of themselves that they had the right answer, that no was the right answer. And by the end of the meeting, the single biggest, or most consistent comment, was, “Wow, I’m glad you’re making the decision and not me.” Some of the tone of the calls changed a little bit yesterday, according to the staff, in that folks were mad about the tax package. It’s clouded the issues somewhat with respect to a much, much bigger decision, and that is do you vote for or against the bailout?
Jagow: Congressman Mike Conaway, Republican from Texas. Thanks for joining us.
Conaway: Scott, good to be with you.
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