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The 'permanent bailout' argument evolves

Human Events, watching Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) closely, reports on his new, clear framing of the possible bailout threat posed by the financial regulatory legislation.

If a future administration thinks there’s a crisis that requires using taxpayer funds, then they should have to get permission from the taxpayers first. It isn’t enough for someone in the administration to say it’s so. They need to come to Congress before they write the check. If this bill isn’t like the first bailout, prove it.

Now, McConnell has been saying this for a while, but he has occasionally referred to a "bailout fund" in the reform bill. Democrats have, successfully, made a target out of that phrase, accusing Republicans of being callow and adopting a phrase from pollster Frank Luntz's research. McConnell's office has denied being influenced by Luntz -- and I believe it. But I'm ready to close the book on a surprisingly effective campaign by Democrats to shift the debate from the bill to whether Republicans were unfairly barring the door.

By David Weigel  |  April 22, 2010; 6:20 PM ET
Categories:  Financial reform , Senate  
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