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'Frustration among Democrats'
For Democrats, it is a chance to highlight what they characterize as hands-off policies by Bush and the Republicans that favor the wealthy. Yet the crisis demands swift action for which Democrats, as the leaders of Congress, will bear a hefty share of responsibility. They do not relish being seen as complicit in a Wall Street rescue when voters are feeling an acute economic pinch.

"There's a lot of frustration among Democrats who view this cataclysm as the logical consequence of a philosophy of deregulation," said William A. Galston, a domestic policy adviser in the Clinton White House. At the same time, "Does anybody really want to go down in history as part of the sand in the machinery that helped bring about the repeat of 1930?"

Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said Democrats cannot duck the issue after spending eight years hammering Bush for making end-runs around Congress.

"There have been people on my side complaining about executive overreaching, too much power for the executive. I think it would be grave hypocrisy to then sit back and ... say, 'OK, you guys do it on your own,'" said Frank, a Democrat from Massachussetts. "We can't be for ... a two-branch operation - unless it's a tough issue."

Frank was the first lawmaker to float a possible solution, a government entity along the lines of the Resolution Trust Corp. of the 1980s that took over hundreds of failed savings and loans and sold off their assets before folding.

'Nobody can attack us'
Democratic leaders quickly backed away from the idea and said it would be months before Congress was ready to take such action. Pelosi resorted to hearings to investigate whether fraud played a part in the financial collapse and what Congress might do about it in the future. She said the rescue of insurer American International Group was "outrageous."

"There was a reluctance for us to announce the first big-government proposal," Rep. Brad Sherman, a Democrat from California, said before the actual size of the administration's plan became clear. Now, "Nobody can attack us for being big government spenders."

He said he and many colleagues worry that that top Democrats are being stampeded into accepting what Bush and Wall Street want. "Leadership has to worry that the press will vilify Democrats for not immediately rubber-stamping this urgent proposal," Sherman said.

The challenge is acute, too, for Republicans. They philosophically are opposed to government intervention in the market, yet acutely aware that economic woes could cost their party dearly in November's elections.

"It's precisely at moments like this that the momentum is there for a further growth in government, and they're fearful of that," said Michael Franc of the conservative Heritage Foundation. "They don't want to be co-opted."

the dems want to add a stimulus package, obligating even more debt to the people.........but they aren't suicidal enough to hold up the bill and risk a financial collapse of our system.....but they will try....
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