Are we chumps?

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-MD, had the opportunity to lay out his personal anguish about the Congressional Black Caucus’ act of bipartisanship to change votes to support the $700 billion bailout from the Treasury Dept.

Grilling Neel Kashkari, the 35-year-old former Goldman Sachs analyst put in charge of the plan, in the House Oversight Subcommittee, Cummings asked if Wall Street considered him a “chump.”   Or did he and the Treasury Dept. consider Congress chumps.

Hearing daily from consituents in Baltimore about their pain with foreclosures, Cummings and other black representatives want to know when the people on the frontlines will get help.   He recalled that President-elect Obama had personally lobbied Caucus members to support the bill with a pledge that he would make sure the funds went to help hard-pressed mortgage holders.

But Treasury has been tone-deaf so far.  Cumming, Chair Dennis Kucinich, D-OH and ranking Republican Darrell Issa all challenged Kashkari to reprioritize the use of the $290 billion which has gone into bank coffers so far.

Cummings asked how he allowed AIG to issue $503 million in bonuses at the same time it drew down $135 billion from the U.S. government.

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