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Nation's Largest Taxpayer Group Slams Bailout Vote, Prepares New Opposition Campaign
For Immediate Release October 3, 2008
Pete Sepp, (703) 683-5700
(Alexandria, VA) -- Just minutes after the House of Representatives voted to pass legislation containing a $700 billion financial industry bailout, the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) -- which has led opposition to the package -- announced a new effort to minimize the damage the package threatens to inflict on taxpayers, the economy, and accountable government. NTU Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp provided the following comments:
"In the worst misreading of public opinion in recent history, the House and Senate proudly proclaimed they ended 'business as usual' by voting for ... business as usual. The few worthy tax relief provisions of the bill, such as the Alternative Minimum Tax patch, should have been passed as stand-alone legislation. Instead, leaders cynically attached narrow tax and spending provisions designed to bribe the rank-and-file into submission. Funny, that doesn't seem like a break from past legislative behavior.
Any lawmaker who now claims he or she 'had no choice' but to vote for the bailout bill is lying to the American people. Self-styled 'free-market' Republicans who made such an argument should be especially ashamed for not sticking with principled colleagues such as Sen. Jim DeMint and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, who consistently offered more thoughtful approaches.
During the past two weeks and before, the National Taxpayers Union, along with many other organizations, presented Members of Congress and their staffs with specific, detailed improvements to the plan. Some of these already existed as legislation in the hopper. This vote was not an all-or-nothing proposition -- Members deliberately ignored other options and arrogantly believed that their actions would solely determine the health of a stock market that is rising and falling due to many factors.
This fight is not over. We will examine all options for legal action on behalf of citizens who still believe in the separation of powers. We will demand transparency of all Treasury actions and make sure the public is aware of any missteps to come. We will work with conscientious lawmakers willing to craft more intelligent solutions in the next Congress. Most of all, we will make sure through every means possible that the nation's taxpayers know who in Washington deserted them this week."
NTU's efforts in the past two weeks have included an 11-point letter to lawmakers on bailout alternatives, an online petition for citizens to sign, a letter from an NTU-organized coalition of 27 groups urging lawmakers to oppose the bailout, face-to-face meetings with over 30 Senators and their staffs, vote alerts, talk radio appearances, grassroots email campaigns, and a left-right coalition of more than 40 groups demanding more transparency and oversight provisions in the rescue bill. Note: For further details on this work, visit www.ntu.org.