It didn’t take long Thursday for Kansas Rep. Todd Tiahrt to come out against the multibillion-dollar Wall Street bailout agreement reached by congressional leaders.

    The Wichita-area Republican said his office has received nearly 500 calls this week from outraged voters opposed to the idea of a rescue package to help shaky financial houses.

    “Based on what I know today, I’m a ‘no’,” Tiahrt said. “We’ve got to move away from this model of throwing money at the problem.”


It didn’t take long Thursday for Kansas Rep. Todd Tiahrt to come out against the multibillion-dollar Wall Street bailout agreement reached by congressional leaders.
    The Wichita-area Republican said his office has received nearly 500 calls this week from outraged voters opposed to the idea of a rescue package to help shaky financial houses.
    “Based on what I know today, I’m a ‘no’,” Tiahrt said. “We’ve got to move away from this model of throwing money at the problem.”
    Across the aisle, Democratic Rep. Dennis Moore, of Lenexa, said he needed more time to scrutinize the proposal to make sure it addressed his concerns.
    “I look forward to reviewing final bill language that ensures aggressive market oversight and negates taxpayer funded ‘golden parachutes’ for irresponsible CEOs,” Moore said.
    Moore’s Republican opponent in November’s elections, state Sen. Nick Jordan, said any solution to the financial crisis should not benefit corporate executives or stockholders who bear responsibility for the problem.
    Jordan said a bailout “must protect Kansas families who are not responsible for this mess,” and he blamed Congress and Moore for allowing loan giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to increase the number of high risk loans they could issue.
    Under the $700 billion accord, the government would buy the mortgage-based assets of financial institutions in an effort to keep them from going under and setting off a domino effect that could wipe out retirement savings, harm businesses and lead to rising unemployment.
    The plan would initially give the Treasury secretary $250 billion, with an additional $100 billion if he certified it was needed. An additional $350 billion could be blocked by a congressional vote, under language giving lawmakers greater control of the rescue.
    President Bush has pressured lawmakers to approve the bailout, warning that the country could head toward a painful recession unless the current credit crisis is addressed.
    But the idea of rewarding wealthy companies with what some called a “blank check” for making bad investments has outraged constituents who want more protection for taxpayers.
    Tiahrt said the plan doesn’t seem to address the underlying problems of how mortgages are sold and tracked. He said similar attempts to bail out other industries have not met with long-term success, and he suggested more effort should be made to bring in the private sector to take the burden off the federal government.
    “I can’t support a system that nobody understands,” he said. “We think we know what they want to do, but it’s pretty much ‘trust me.”’
    Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., was holding off from commenting until he could get more details on the deal. But Democrat Jim Slattery, who is running against Roberts, said he is “outraged that hardworking Kansas taxpayers are being asked to clean up the mess made by greedy Wall Street money changers, incompetent regulators and members of Congress from both political parties.”
    Slattery said he opposes any bailout that unfairly compensates CEOs. He also said the plan should help ordinary Kansans at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure and include a stiffer regulations to oversee the system.
    Democratic Rep. Nancy Boyda said any action to help the financial markets must protect taxpayers. State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins — Boyda’s Republican opponent in the 2nd Congressional District race — said the Bush package must give taxpayers “a fair shake.”
    Republican Rep. Jerry Moran, who represents western Kansas, said he, too, was still waiting to see details of the bailout.
    “I want to take every step to avoid folks from having to suffer the consequences of Wall Street problems,” Moran said. “I am not interested in shifting the liabilities from these big corporations to the taxpayer or in adding to the debt our children will be asked to pay.”