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After attending last night's Robert Plant/Allison Krauss show at the WaMu Theater, Rep. Jim McDermott hopped a plane this morning to head back to D.C.

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Did McDermott Draft Bailout Amendment at WaMu Theater Last Night?

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After attending last night's Robert Plant/Allison Krauss show at the WaMu Theater, Rep. Jim McDermott hopped a plane this morning to head back to D.C. to deal with this nasty business of bailing out our financial industry. Now we get word that McDermott's planning to propose an amendment to the bill "that adds the economic stimulus package in order to lend a helping hand to ordinary Americans who are struggling in this Wall Street-created financial crisis," according to a press release issued by his office. What's more, says the release, "[McDermott] said the thousands of emails and telephone calls he has received in the last week have convinced him that people see the bailout as a Wall Street handout."

Was it the phone calls? Or could it have been last night's concert at a theater named for WaMu, the defeated thrift at the epicenter of our nation's biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. The moment could not have been lost when Rep. McDermott stepped up to the WaMu Theater sign, perhaps for the last time. I attended a show there a couple weeks ago and, I must admit getting a bit emotional when I realized that my cup of Budweiser American Ale (which is different from normal Budweiser how, exactly?) was worth more than several shares of WaMu stock.

McD's full press release can be viewed after the jump.

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McDermott photo by Harley Soltes.

Rep. McDermott To Offer Bailout Amendment

For Immediate Release, Thursday, October 2, 2008

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) will propose an amendment to the bailout bill in the House that adds the economic stimulus package in order to lend a helping hand to ordinary Americans who are struggling in this Wall Street-created financial crisis.

McDermott noted that America woke up this morning to news that filing new claims for unemployment benefits just hit a seven year high, and the legislation passed by the Senate is silent on extending a helping hand to all the Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

“Unless we address the needs of Main Street, the bailout legislation as passed by the Senate will never be seen by the American people as anything except Congress pandering to Wall Street,” McDermott said.

McDermott is chairman of the Ways and Means Income Security and Family Support Subcommittee that has jurisdiction over several social safety net issues, including unemployment benefits. He said the Senate bailout legislation is markedly different than the version the House considered the other day. As a result McDermott said he will offer as an amendment the same stimulus package that the House passed last week that was killed by Senate Republicans.

“The Senate offered sweeteners to get the bailout legislation passed, but the American people need some good old fashioned meat and potatoes right now,” McDermott said. "The American people need Congress to pass a second stimulus package that includes, among other key provisions, extending unemployment benefits.”

Some of the key provisions in the stimulus that would help ordinary Americans survive the economic crisis include: providing an additional 7 weeks of unemployment benefits for workers who have exhausted their regular UI; providing a temporary increase in Medicaid Assistance to States to prevent cuts to health care for low income children and families; and providing increased food assistance to help disadvantaged senior citizens, people with disabilities and poor families with children.

McDermott, in route from Seattle back to DC, has requested a hearing before the House Rules Committee in order to argue his case for adding the stimulus package into the Senate passed bailout that the House will consider on Friday. He said the thousands of emails and telephone calls he has received in the last week have convinced him that people see the bailout as a Wall Street handout.

 
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