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Giffords, citing solar credit, will vote for $700B bailout

Citizen Staff Writer



One more “aye” vote for the federal bailout/rescue of U.S. credit markets emerged from southern Arizona Thursday.

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., has decided to switch her vote and support the $700 billion plan even if it costs her seat in Congress, she said.

The House rejected the measure Monday but the U.S. Senate approved an expanded version Wednesday and the House will take the bill up again Friday.

“I don’t like this vote,” she said. “But I’m not going to stand by and let the current crisis undermine the economy.”

The Democratic freshman is in a tough re-election battle against state Senate President Tim Bee. Giffords said her office has heard little but opposition from her constituents.

She voted against the bill Monday.

“I felt the bill was not ready,” she said. “We have a better bill. It’s not a good bill and no one wants to vote for it.”

It does include an extension of the solar power tax credit, which will continue to make Arizona a mecca for solar energy projects, Giffords said.

She has been one of the top supporters on Capitol Hill of the solar power tax credit.

“It’s critical to reduce our future dependence on foreign oil, it’s critical for innovation and it’s critical to get a handle on energy costs,” she said.

The new bill also includes provisions increasing the limit on federally insured bank accounts from $100,000 to $250,000, and tax relief for the middle classes that should help many residents of Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, which includes southeastern Arizona.

U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, a Democrat representing southwestern Arizona, also cast a “no” vote Monday but has yet to decide how he’ll vote when the revised package comes up Friday, his spokeswoman, Natalie Luna, said.

Grijalva represents a safe Democratic district. In Giffords’ district, Republicans outnumber Democrats.

The Bee campaign could not be reached for comment.

None of the Arizona delegation voted for the bill on Monday, but Giffords joins Republican Arizona Congressman John Shadegg in indicating a likely change to a “yes” vote. U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell, another freshman Democrat, has spoken favorably of the new plan, suggesting Arizona may provide a quarter of the necessary new votes to get the bailout passed.

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