News Release: Faculty Experts, Finance and Economics, Politics

Oct. 2,  2008

Economic Crisis

Bailout Bill Likely to Pass in House, Says Expert

The comprehensive, $700 billion financial bailout bill facing the House of Representatives is likely to pass after the Senate was able to come together in a significant bipartisan vote Wednesday, says Emory University political scientist Randall Strahan, an expert on partisanship and leadership in the U.S. Congress.

The Senate vote represents a notable success in American politics at a time when two of the country's most important national political institutions – Congress and the Presidency – are in a period of weakness, Strahan says.  

"We're seeing that the capacity for bipartisan cooperation is still present in Washington even at a time of intense partisan polarization and a hobbled, unpopular presidency," Strahan says. "The vote in the Senate represents a striking demonstration of the capacity and resilience of the American constitutional system at work under extremely challenging circumstances. The center held in the Senate and I anticipate that it will pass in the House."

The bipartisan vote in the Senate after days of rancor also is remarkable given the nature of the issue, he says.

"The bailout package – why it’s needed and how it will work – is complex and very difficult to understand, plus there has been strong popular reaction against it due to its cost. It's a tough issue to take the lead on when the politically expedient thing to do for many members of Congress is to be opposed to it," Strahan says.

Strahan, a professor of political science, is the author of "Leading Representatives: The Agency of Leaders in the Politics of the U.S. House," published in 2007 by Johns Hopkins University Press. He currently is working on a book about partisanship in Congress. Reach him at 404-727-7913 or polsrs@emory.edu.

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