How Maryland’s Representatives Voted On The Bailout

Posted on September 30, 2008

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Five of Maryland’s eight representatives in Congress voted for the $700 billion bailout of the U.S. financial system on Monday, and three Maryland representatives voted against.

VOTING AGAINST (And representing their people)

  • Rep. Donna Edwards, Democrat, District 4, central Prince Georges County and northeast Montgomery County.
  • Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, Republican, District 6, Western Maryland.
  • Rep. Elijah Cummings, Democrat, District 7, including central and western Baltimore City, western Baltimore County, and sparsely populated western Howard County.

What do Edwards, Bartlett, and Cummings have in common? Their districts have logical boundaries. Their people are able to know what district they live in and the name of their congressional representative. Seems to me that Edwards’, Bartlett’s and Cummings’ votes against the bailout probably reflected the overwhelming sentiments of their people.

VOTING FOR (What were they thinking?)

  • Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, Republican, District 1, the Eastern Shore, and parts of Anne Arundel, Harford, and Baltimore counties. (He’s not running in the General Election, so maybe it doesn’t matter if his vote represents his people.)
  • Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, Democrat, District 2, including southeast Harford County, eastern Baltimore County, little bits of Baltimore city, random parts of Baltimore County north of the city, and south of the city into Anne Arundel County. Despite the convoluted boundaries, Ruppersberger has been around long enough to be well-known in District 2.
  • Rep. John Sarbanes, Democrat, District 3, a district originally drawn to annoy Ben Cardin. District 3 starts with a big chunk of northwest Baltimore County and northwest Baltimore City, then snakes east and south through the city before sprawling into central Anne Arundel County and eastern Howard County. It’s a masterful work of gerrymandering, serving mostly to confuse people who want to know what district they live in.
  • Rep. Steny Hoyer, Democrat, District 5, including Southern Maryland and north and south Prince Georges County. Hoyer is House majority leader, second-ranking Democrat in the House. Hoyer is well-known in all parts of his district. He was voting the House Democratic leadership line, not the views of Southern Maryland or Prince Georges County.
  • Rep. Christopher Van Hollen, Democrat, District 8, much of Montgomery County from the D.C. line to the Frederick County line. Who do you suppose he was thinking about as he voted for the bailout? The people of Chevy Chase and Potomac? The people of Wheaton, White Oak and Rockville? The House Democratic leadership? I do not know.

The House defeated the bailout bill, also known as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, by a vote of 228-205, rejecting the plan championed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, and President George Bush. — Bernie Hayden

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