U.S. Chamber: Votes Against Bailout Are Prelude to 'Calamity'

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is miffed at Congress and it wants lawmakers to know about it.

The powerful and influential Big Business lobby issued a harsh statement after the House's failure to pass the $700 billion Wall Street bailout/"rescue plan" legislation Monday.

"Make no mistake: when the aftermath of congressional inaction becomes clear, Americans will not tolerate those who stood by and let the calamity happen," Chamber President Bruce Josten wrote in an open letter to Congress.

The Chamber is made up of large corporations. Large corporations live and die on the availability of capital and credit. Those things are in short supply these days, a deficiency the bill was supposed to alleviate. Instead, the markets plunged as the vote slouched toward its ineffectual conclusion.

Earlier Monday, the Chamber sent another missive to Capitol Hill advising them it would designate lawmakers' tallies as "key votes" that would affect the Chamber's ranking of their legislative record. Some House members, then, took a demerit Monday.

Sizable contingents of Democrats (95) and Republicans (133) voted against the bill -- and against the expressed wishes of their respective leaders. But the Chamber's barbs are squarely directed at the GOP lawmakers, normally their allies, who opposed the measure.

"Today's failure to approve legislation addressing the financial crisis has resulted in uncertainty and turmoil that have dramatically affected the markets, and lowered equity prices, eroding individual savings and destroying billions of dollars of household wealth," Josten wrote.

-Jeffrey Young

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