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Did Your Representative Cause the Financial Crisis?

In 2000, Congress passed a law barring states from regulating credit default swaps under their gambling and “bucket shop” laws. This set the stage for the market in “financial derivatives” that are a big part of what is causing the economic meltdown today.

One hundred fifty-five of the Members of Congress who voted for this law are still serving—and they’re up for reelection next week. You might want to take their votes on credit default swaps into account when you go to your polling place.

The Senate passed the bill on “unanimous consent.” Everyone just agreed to let it go through, including 22 Senators who are up for reelection.

Below is a list of the current Members (all of them up for reelection) who voted to let gambling be treated like a financial service, and the Senators up for reelection who allowed the bill to go through.

Click on your state to see if your representatives helped create today’s economic problems: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, or Wyoming. (See all House votes here.)

For some background, give a watch to Sunday night’s very interesting and insightful 60 Minutes piece on credit default swaps and how they played into the financial crisis. Essentially, they’re side bets that allow people to wager on financial outcomes without having to buy assets.

The 60 Minutes story points to a section in H.R. 5660, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. That bill was folded into the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2001, a massive spending bill, passed in haste at the end of the 106th Congress.

(Sound familiar? Congress passed a similar huge spending bill a few weeks ago.)

Now, is it unfair to blame House members and Senators for letting this small provision through in such a large bill? Heck No! They collectively let the annual spending process get out of control. This lead to the gigantic bill with the derivatives gambling provision in it, which is now a cause of our economic collapse. They should be held responsible individually for the results, and hiding from their responsibility in collective shirking will not do.

Recapping, the following list includes House Members still serving who supported the Consolidated Appropriations Act and Senators currently up for reelection who allowed it to pass (plus a couple who voted for it in the House). The bill preempted state gambling regulation on financial derivatives. These folks have responsibility for at least some of the economic mess we’re in today.

Senate – Jeff Sessions (R)
AL-5 Cramer, Robert (D)
AL-6 Bachus, Spencer (R)

Senate – Ted Stevens (R)
AK-0 Young, Donald (R)

Senate – John McCain**
AZ-2 Pastor, Edward (D)

CA-4 Doolittle, John (R)
CA-6 Woolsey, Lynn (D)
CA-9 Lee, Barbara (D)
CA-10 Tauscher, Ellen (D)
CA-22 Capps, Lois (D)
CA-23 Gallegly, Elton (R)
CA-24 Sherman, Brad (D)
CA-28 Dreier, David (R)
CA-30 Becerra, Xavier (D)
CA-33 Roybal-Allard, Lucille (D)
CA-40 Lewis, Jerry (R)
CA-42 Baca, Joe (D)
CA-52 Hunter, Duncan (R)

CO-1 DeGette, Diana (D)
CO-2 Udall, Mark (D)

CT-1 Larson, John (D)
CT-3 DeLauro, Rosa (D)
CT-4 Shays, Christopher (R)

Senate – Joe Biden (D)***
DE-0 Castle, Michael (R)

FL-2 Boyd, F. (D)
FL-19 Wexler, Robert (D)
FL-21 Diaz-Balart, Lincoln (R)

Senate – Saxby Chambliss (R)*
GA-2 Bishop, Sanford (D)
GA-5 Lewis, John (D)
GA-11 Linder, John (R)

HI-1 Abercrombie, Neil (D)

ID-2 Simpson, Michael (R)

Senate – Richard Durbin (D)
IL-1 Rush, Bobby (D)
IL-2 Jackson, Jesse (D)
IL-7 Davis, Danny (D)
IL-9 Schakowsky, Janice (D)
IL-11 Weller, Gerald (R)
IL-12 Costello, Jerry (D)
IL-13 Biggert, Judy (R)
IL-18 LaHood, Ray (R)
IL-20 Shimkus, John (R)

IN-1 Visclosky, Peter (D)
IN-5 Buyer, Stephen (R)

Senate – Tom Harkin (D)

Senate – Pat Roberts (R)
KS-1 Moran, Jerry (R)
KS-3 Moore, Dennis (D)
KS-4 Tiahrt, Todd (R)

Senate – Mitch McConnell (R)
KY-1 Whitfield, Edward (R)
KY-2 Lewis, Ron (R)

Senate – Mary Landrieu (D)
LA-2 Jefferson, William (D)
LA-4 McCrery, James (R)

Senate – Susan Collins (R)
ME-1 Allen, Thomas (D)

MD-1 Gilchrest, Wayne (R)
MD-5 Hoyer, Steny (D)
MD-7 Cummings, Elijah (D)

Senate – John Kerry (D)
MA-1 Olver, John (D)
MA-2 Neal, Richard (D)
MA-3 McGovern, James (D)
MA-6 Tierney, John (D)
MA-7 Markey, Edward (D)
MA-8 Capuano, Michael (D)

Senate – Carl Levin (D)
MI-1 Stupak, Bart (D)
MI-3 Ehlers, Vernon (R)
MI-4 Camp, David (R)
MI-6 Upton, Frederick (R)
MI-9 Kildee, Dale (D)
MI-11 Knollenberg, Joseph (R)
MI-12 Levin, Sander (D)
MI-15 Kilpatrick, Carolyn (D)
MI-16 Dingell, John (D)

MN-3 Ramstad, James (R)
MN-7 Peterson, Collin (D)

Senate – Thad Cochran (R)
MS-2 Thompson, Bennie (D)
MS-3 Pickering, Charles (R)
MS-5 Taylor, Gene (D)

MO-4 Skelton, Ike (D)
MO-8 Emerson, Jo Ann (R)
MO-9 Hulshof, Kenny (R)

Senate – Max Baucus (D)

NV-1 Berkley, Shelley (D)

New Hampshire
Senate – John Sununu (R)*

New Jersey
Senate – Frank Lautenberg (D)
NJ-1 Andrews, Robert (D)
NJ-2 LoBiondo, Frank (R)
NJ-3 Saxton, H. (R)
NJ-6 Pallone, Frank (D)
NJ-8 Pascrell, William (D)
NJ-9 Rothman, Steven (D)
NJ-10 Payne, Donald (D)

New Mexico
NM-3 Udall, Tom (D)

New York
NY-3 King, Peter (R)
NY-4 McCarthy, Carolyn (D)
NY-6 Meeks, Gregory (D)
NY-7 Crowley, Joseph (D)
NY-8 Nadler, Jerrold (D)
NY-9 Weiner, Anthony (D)
NY-10 Towns, Edolphus (D)
NY-12 Velazquez, Nydia (D)
NY-14 Maloney, Carolyn (D)
NY-15 Rangel, Charles (D)
NY-16 Serrano, José (D)
NY-17 Engel, Eliot (D)
NY-18 Lowey, Nita (D)
NY-21 McNulty, Michael (D)
NY-24 McHugh, John (R)
NY-26 Hinchey, Maurice (D)
NY-27 Reynolds, Thomas (R)
NY-28 Slaughter, Louise (D)

North Carolina
NC-2 Etheridge, Bob (D)
NC-6 Coble, Howard (R)
NC-7 McIntyre, Mike (D)
NC-8 Hayes, Robin (R)
NC-9 Myrick, Sue (R)
NC-12 Watt, Melvin (D)

North Dakota
ND-0 Pomeroy, Earl (D)

OH-8 Boehner, John (R)
OH-9 Kaptur, Marcy (D)
OH-15 Pryce, Deborah (R)
OH-19 LaTourette, Steven (R)

Senate – James Inhofe (R)
OK-6 Lucas, Frank (R)

Senate – Gordon Smith (R)
OR-1 Wu, David (D)
OR-5 Hooley, Darlene (D)

PA-1 Brady, Robert (D)
PA-6 Holden, Tim (D)
PA-11 Kanjorski, Paul (D)
PA-12 Murtha, John (D)
PA-18 Doyle, Michael (D)
PA-21 English, Philip (R)

Rhode Island
Senate – Jack Reed (D)
RI-1 Kennedy, Patrick (D)

South Carolina
SC-5 Spratt, John (D)
SC-6 Clyburn, James (D)

South Dakota
Senate – Tim Johnson (D)

TN-3 Wamp, Zach (R)
TN-6 Gordon, Barton (D)
TN-8 Tanner, John (D)

TX-4 Hall, Ralph (R)
TX-8 Brady, Kevin (R)
TX-9 Lampson, Nicholas (D)
TX-10 Doggett, Lloyd (D)
TX-13 Thornberry, William (R)
TX-15 Hinojosa, Rubén (D)
TX-16 Reyes, Silvestre (D)
TX-18 Jackson-Lee, Sheila (D)
TX-20 Gonzalez, Charles (D)
TX-21 Smith, Lamar (R)
TX-28 Rodriguez, Ciro (D)
TX-29 Green, Raymond (D)
TX-30 Johnson, Eddie (D)

VA-3 Scott, Robert (D)
VA-5 Goode, Virgil (R)
VA-9 Boucher, Frederick (D)
VA-10 Wolf, Frank (R)
VA-11 Davis, Thomas (R)

WA-3 Baird, Brian (D)
WA-4 Hastings, Doc (R)
WA-6 Dicks, Norman (D)

West Virginia
Senate – Jay Rockefeller (D)
WV-3 Rahall, Nick (D)

WI-2 Baldwin, Tammy (D)
WI-6 Petri, Thomas (R)
WI-7 Obey, David (D)

Senate – Michael Enzi (R)
WY-0 Cubin, Barbara (R)

* Voted for the Consolidated Appropriations Act as a House member.
**McCain is running for President on the Republican ticket.
***Biden is running for Vice President on the Democratic ticket.

Visitor Comments for Did Your Representative Cause the Financial Crisis? RSS 2.0

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It was everyone that lives beyond their means. You cant blame just the politicans or business guys.

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Shame shame on you all who let this pass!!! So many families have committed murder-suicide because they lost their homes and livihoods in this crisis!!!


The list shown for Congressional members indicates they “supported” the non-regulation of CDS? Did they support the CFMA specifically?

Jim Harper

They voted for it as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, but did not take a specific, separate “aye” vote on the CFMA. They supported it with their votes even if they might have preferred not to vote for it. I discussed my opinion of whether they should thus be blamed for it in the post above.

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