Bailout Blocked, Sanders Reacts

WASHINGTON, September 29 - Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives today voted 228-205 against a $750 billion bailout of Wall Street.

"Vermonters and people across America are saying very clearly that this bailout is a bad idea and that the struggling middle class should not have to pay for the greed and excesses of Wall Street. I have received hundreds of calls and more than 2,000 e-mails from Vermonters, almost all of them against this plan. More than 46,000 people all over the country have joined me in signing a letter to Treasury Secretary Paulson opposing any bailout paid for by the middle class.

"With the House vote today, it is time to send a loud and clear message that if a bailout is necessary, it must be paid for by those on Wall Street who caused the problem and the very wealthy who pocketed huge profits. Any effective program to help the economy also should re-regulate the financial services industry that has gotten a pass in the past decade, an economic recovery program to put Americans to work at decent wages, and break up huge companies so that there is no longer anything that is too big to fail."

Sanders' letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson calls for a five-year, 10 percent surtax on individuals with more than $500,000 income and couples with combined incomes of more than $1 million. The surtax would raise more than $300 million to help pay for losses on assets taken over by the government.

In addition to the large number of co-signers of Sanders' letter that was first posted only one week ago, a new Web poll today also is reflecting overwhelming opposition to the bailout that the House rejected. To read the letter to the Treasury secretary, click here. To track the poll results, click here.