WASHINGTON-The House of Representatives killed the bill to authorize a $700 billion bailout of the economy by a vote of 228-205, after impassioned pleas on both sides.
Plenty of members from both parties were unhappy about the unpopular legislation, especially on the eve of elections. Only 65 Republicans voted for the bill, and 140 Democrats. One congressman offered an all-too-vivid image during the floor debates.
"This is a huge cow patty with a marshmallow stuck in the middle of it," said Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.).
But congressional members supporting the bill expressed their distaste for the bailout too, torn by their constituents' disapproval.
House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio, who called the bill a "crap sandwich" at one point and initially said he wouldn't vote for the legislation, spoke in support of it today.
"Nobody wants to vote for this. I don't blame you. We have an imperfect product, a product that may work," he said. "I believe we have to vote for this bill to keep ourselves from the brink of an economic disaster."
To score a few points, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the opportunity to lay the blame for the financial meltdown entirely on the Bush administration's economic policies.
"They claim to be free market, when it's really an 'anything goes' mentality," she said. Still, Pelosi urged the House to pass the bill.
Democratic leader on the discussion, Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, chairman of the Financial Services Committee, avoided political commentary to point to the severity of the situation.
"If we repudiate George Bush's secretary of the Treasury and the chairman of the Reserve, and we say, 'Naah, calm down, we'll get over it,' I believe the consequences will be severe."
"I wish I could have included more of my priorities," said Frank. "I wish I could eat more and not gain weight. ... Please don't throw it out because you're unhappy with some of the provisions."
But they did. Now Congress, expected to go to recess today, will reconvene on Thursday to discuss other options to solve the crisis.