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Doolittle, Brown address bailout, the meltdown

GOP congressman helps vote down rescue; nominee Brown wants tight conditions attached
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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U.S. Rep. John Doolittle was one of the opponents Monday of the government’s financial bailout plan, voting against a move that he said doesn’t solve the underlying problems the credit crisis evolved from. The Roseville Republican, who is leaving office in 2009 after 18 years in Congress, said that while he’s convinced the federal government must act to address the financial crisis, he was never convinced that spending $700 billion would supersede a process that could have drafted and examined legislation. Monday’s market activity and House floor action were the results of a flawed approach, he said. Charlie Brown, the Democratic Party nominee to replace Doolittle, said that he favors action supported by the president and House leaders but wants to ensure restrictions are tightened to avoid golden parachutes for finance executives and guarantees that if there are any profits from buying up corporate assets, they be returned to taxpayers. “I’m still concerned about the details, but doing nothing is not an option during this meltdown,” Brown said. “It’s a situation where we don’t want to save Wall Street. We want to save Main Street.” Brown, who said he’s feeling the financial pain from the crisis as a long-time mutual-fund investor, said that while neither Republicans nor Democrats in Congress appear to be really happy with the plan, he’s encouraged by leadership joining together to forge a potential answer to the crisis. Tom McClintock, Brown’s Republican opponent in the 4th District election for Congress was unavailable for a comment Monday. Brown said the two are scheduled to debate Thursday in Oroville, with other debates scheduled later in October for Placerville and Quincy. Doolittle said he has co-sponsored two alternatives to the rescue plan that was rejected Monday. One proposal would inject private capital into the market by encouraging investment through tax code changes – while re-forming the failed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac financial institutions. The other proposal would protect all creditors in banks during the period of instability while also allowing the FDIC to work with banks to place meaningful values on their assets and capabilities, he said. Those options would secure the nation’s economy while minimizing the risk for taxpayers, Doolittle said in a statement released Monday. “These alternatives, at the very least, should be considered during this crisis,” Doolittle said. “I remain hopeful that the Congress will act quickly and responsibly to propose a needed solution. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com.