McCain Goes With the Washington Flow on Bailout

By Susan Jones | September 25, 2008 | 10:06 AM EDT

Sen. John McCain is likely to anger fiscal conservatives by more or less going along with the $700-billion financial "bailout" plan the Bush administration is pushing on Congress.

( – Sen. John McCain is sure to anger fiscal conservatives by more or less going along with the $700-billion financial “bailout” plan the Bush administration is pushing on Congress.
On Thursday morning, in a speech to the Clinton Global Initiative, McCain said the plan will not be approved in its current form – and he said he’ll push for “five fundamental improvements.”
Those improvements do not include the basic economic reforms that conservative Republicans are advocating. McCain said nothing about approaching the problem from a different angle – such as permanently lowering corporate and capital gains taxes and passing an energy package.
McCain’s five recommended improvements are as follows.

1. Greater accountability and oversight. He wants a bipartisan board to oversee the rescue package. “You won’t solve a problem caused by poor oversight with a plan that has no oversight,” he said.
2. Recovery of taxpayer funds. “When we’re talking about $700-billion taxpayer dollars, that money can’t simply go back into a black hole of bad debt with no means of recovering any of the funds.”
3. Complete transparency. “This can’t be thrown tog behind closed doors. The American people have the right to know which businesses will be helped, what that selection will be based on, and how much that help will cost.” He said all details should be made available online.
4. No earmarks. “It would be outrageous for legislators and lobbyists to pack this rescue plan with even more taxpayer money for favored companies.”
5. Executive compensation. “No Wall Street executive should profit from taxpayers’ dollars,” he said.
McCain repeated that he’s taking time away from his presidential campaign, starting Thursday morning, to address the “all-hands-on-deck” situation.
At McCain’s suggestion, he and Sen. Barack Obama will meet with President Bush at the White House on Thursday afternoon.“I cannot carry on a campaign as though this dangerous situation had not occurred, or as though a solution were at hand, which it clearly is not,” McCain said Thursday morning.
He might as well keep on campaigning, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Thursday morning.
In an appearance on Fox & Friends Thursday morning – before McCain spoke -- Gingrich said McCain should push for an economic recovery package rather than a bailout.

If McCain insists on an economic recovery package (including lower corporate taxes, an energy bill) rather than a bailout – he’ll look like a national leader, Gingrich told Fox & Friends on Thursday.
“If McCain is able to carry us that far, then I think this will be one of the great leadership examples in modern American history. If he, in the end, caves in and becomes part of the usual gang in Washington, then I think this actually has highlighted how bad the problems of Washington are, and Obama is correct to stay on the campaign trail.”

As previously reported, a number of conservatives strongly oppose the $700 billion rescue plan, saying it will “socialize” the economy and lead to more bailouts down the road. (No Bailout, Some Conservatives Insist)
Sen. Barack Obama is among the Democrats (and some Republicans) who also are calling for greater oversight and a way to recoup taxpayer money. Unlike McCain, Obama says a second economic stimulus package should be passed by Congress after it rescues Wall Street.