More money (lost), more problems

Might falling stock prices persuade lawmakers to revisit the bailout bill soon?

Published September 29, 2008 9:41PM (EDT)

Apparently the GOP's attempt to blame House Speaker Nancy Pelosi immediately after the bill collapsed didn't do much to calm anything down on Capitol Hill.

House Democrats may try to bring back the bill later in the week, but they say any additional votes will have to come from the other side. "We delivered 140 votes," one senior Democratic aide said in an e-mail to Salon. "How about House Republicans go take a look at the Dow drop (largest point drop in history), Americans' 401(k) and mutual funds, and then go find a dozen votes."

That sounds flip, but it may actually be a pretty good read on how the legislation finally makes it past today's impasse. Congress is gone for the next two days, and if the stock markets keep plunging, chances are a few members will reconsider their opposition to the bailout once they return. No lawmaker, no matter how safe his or her seat is, wants to be responsible for record stock market losses. If you think Congress is unpopular now, wait till you see the polling when voters realize they can never afford to retire.

So far, no new vote has been scheduled. But don't be surprised if Congress tries again -- and soon.

By Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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