Despite a wave of converts and sweeteners, U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite still couldn't swallow voting for the $700-billion economic bailout plan Friday.
Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, again voted against the bill as the U.S. House reversed itself and approved it.
"It still bails out foreign banks. It still raises the debt limit a trillion dollars," Brown-Waite said on the House floor on Friday. "That is what people believe is business as usual in Washington."
Brown-Waite, who represents Hernando and much of Pasco, wasn't alone. The congressman for coastal Pasco, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, also voted against the bill (HR 1424) again.
In a written statement, Bilirakis said he wanted more "targeted" assistance for homeowners and better scrutiny of financial companies.
"I could not ask my constituents to pay for this corporate bailout because it fails to fundamentally address the problems that caused the current credit crisis," Bilirakis said.
The House had defeated the measure Monday. But lawmakers remade the bill, adding tax breaks and other provisions to win over critics, leading to approval by the Senate and President Bush.
The Treasury Department would buy $700-billion of troubled mortgage-related assets from finance companies in a bid to stop the hemorrhaging economy.
The Bush administration has contended that much of the money Congress allocates for the bailout will be repaid if it works. But Brown-Waite noted in an interview that "nowhere in there does it say that money will be used to pay down the debt."
While Brown-Waite said she supported extending tax breaks, she said they should have come in separate bills. She also blasted the core of the legislation. She called the proposal "extortion" Monday.
"America hated this bill at $700-billion. Today they despise it at $850-billion," Brown-Waite said on the floor Friday.
Democrat John Russell of Dade City, her opponent in the Nov. 4 election, said he also opposed the bill because of its flaws. He has proposed stronger enforcement against fraud, greater government roles in finance companies that participate in the plan and a fee on stock trades to offset the financial burden on taxpayers.
"She offers criticism and complaint but offers no solution," he said.
Times staff writer Wes Allison contributed to this report. David DeCamp can be reached at email@example.com or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6232.