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|Alexander hopeful for compromise|
U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander voted against a $700 billion proposal to aid the financial industry, calling the proposal irresponsible.
Alexander said he could not in good conscience vote for the bill because it placed too much power in the hands of the secretary of the treasury.
"And we don't know who that's going to be in January," said Alexander, R-Quitman.
Under the proposal rejected by the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson would have the authority to determine which banks would receive government assistance as Wall Street struggles in the wake of a collapse of home lending market.
That was unacceptable to a number of members in both parties because Paulson will only remain in office until the next president takes his oath Jan. 20, 2009.
Alexander said that kind of uncertainty was irresponsible.
Alexander also continued to question whether Congress would approve aid for farmers and displaced families on the heels of hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
Previously, Alexander said he would support President Bush's $700 billion plan if guarantees were made that hurricane response would not suffer.
When the vote came Monday, Alexander said his questions had not been answered.
"I wasn't satisfied at all with some of the concerns I had originally," Alexander said. "I knew we had to do something but I wasn't pleased with the proposal."
The House ultimately rejected the Bush's proposal on a 228-205 vote. The House is scheduled to vote on the matter again Friday afternoon.
At that time, members of the House like Alexander will take a fresh look at the proposed buyout of faulty mortgages.
Still, Alexander said there are questions that need to be answered.
Specifically, the current proposal says the Treasury Department could purchase bad mortgages, meaning homes and land, which the government would own while real estate companies tried to sell the assets.
"Who's going to cut the grass and make sure the windows aren't knocked out?" Alexander said.
He also raised concerns about the payment of insurance premiums on homes and to whom the premiums would be paid.
Alexander was hopeful for a compromise. He said there alternatives to Bush's proposal are being discussed.
One alternative would allow the private sector to purchase the faulty loans and assets at significant discounts. They would be sold later at a profit, or when the real estate market stabilized.
However, Alexander said a high capital gains tax stands in the way of that proposal, while and Democrats in the House will not allow the discussion of a capital gains tax cut for businesses that wish to participate in that buyout plan.
"I can't understand why in the world we don't allow a tax break for those who would buy these assets," Alexander said.