On the eve of one of her most important votes in Congress, U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite remained undecided Thursday about whether the newly revised $700-billion financial rescue plan is the answer for a hemorrhaging Wall Street and an ailing economy.
The Brooksville Republican arrived in Washington on Thursday afternoon but refused to comment about her thoughts concerning the measure, said spokesman Charlie Keller.
The House is expected to vote today after the Senate signed off on the new version of the highly controversial bailout plan Wednesday night.
Brown-Waite cast a "no" vote earlier this week, joining fellow rank-and-file Republican lawmakers to defeat the plan endorsed by a top lawmakers, the Bush administration and the two leading presidential candidates.
She called the plan "extortion, not legislation," a biting statement that received widespread attention in the national media.
A day after the vote, in a letter to constituents, she acknowledged that "some form of government intervention is likely necessary to stabilize our economy."
On Thursday, Keller said the congresswoman held meetings with policy advisers about the 400-plus page legislation and talked to constituents who are feeling the economic pinch.
Concerned constituents continue to bombard her office with calls about the proposed bailout. Ahead of the first vote, the calls were 99 percent against the plan, Keller said. Since then, the message is sliding slightly in the other direction, though 90 percent of the callers are still opposed.
The new bill — loaded with tax breaks, including a $1,000 deduction for homeowners who do not itemize their federal income taxes — makes a tough vote for those who rejected the first bill.
This is especially true for Brown-Waite because the tax package includes a provision to extend federal deductions for sales taxes in states such as Florida that do not pay income taxes.
For months, she's pushed hard to get this extension approved by Congress. In May she told constituents in a letter, "this measure is sure to bring tax relief to Floridians."
John Frank can be reached at email@example.com or (352) 754-6114.