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Rep. Bill Shuster (left) of Pennsylvania and Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont, both from ultra-rural districts, changed their votes on the financial bailout, supporting the amended bill last Friday.
Photos: Congressman Bill Shuster (left) and Getty Images (right)

The Congressional bailout out of the nation’s financial system, signed into law on Friday, passed with the support of the nation’s most rural representatives.

The original version of the bailout bill failed in the House; HR 3997 was voted down 205 to 228. But the Daily Yonder finds that U.S. Representatives from the nation’s 25 most rural districts (based on the 2000 Census) voted in favor of the first “rescue package.” Representatives from the most rural districts narrowly approved the original bailout legislation, 13 to 12, last Monday.

The amended version of the bailout legislation, HR 1424, crafted by the Senate, passed in the House on Friday 263 to 171. Only two of the most rural representatives changed their votes, both of them to “aye.” Peter Welch (D) of Vermont and Bill Shuster (R) of Pennsylvania’s 9th District, who had voted no on Monday, both supported the revised bill.

Welch, Vermont’s only member of the House, told reporters that he was willing to change his vote once federal deposit insurance was doubled. Welch also said he saw more oversight in the revised bill and greater protection — as well as potential benefits — for taxpayers. Welch told reporters that Senator Barack Obama “gave me his personal assurance that as the next president of the United States he would fight for a recoupment fund – the term he uses – to make certain that the cost of this program would be borne by the financial services community.”

Rep. Bill Shuster , a Republican from south-central Pennsylvania, said the higher insurance cap on bank deposits in the revised bill also influenced him to vote yes on Friday. Shuster said he was encouraged that the Congress had broken the $700 billion financial payout into installments.

“This is not a blank check,” he said. “The next president, the next Treasury, is going to have to come back to Congress to get approval for this.”

Both Welch’s and Shuster’s seats in Congress had been considered “safe.”

The House members from the 25 most rural districts and their votes on the original and revised bailout bills are listed below.

% RURALUS REP.STATE/ DISTRICTPARTYHR 3997 Vote MondayHR 1424 Vote Friday
79%Harold RogersKY-5RYesYes
74%Robert B. AderholtAL-4RNoNo
69%Michael H. MichaudME-2DNo No
68%Lincoln DavisTN-4DNo No
67%Bart StupakMI-1D No No
66%Collin C. PetersonMN-7DNo No
66%Nathan DealGA-9R No No
66%Rick BoucherVA-9D Yes Yes
65%John M. McHughNY-23RYes Yes
64%Dan BorenOK-2DYes Yes
64%Virgil H. Goode Jr.VA-5R No No
64%Ed WhitfieldKY-1RNo No
63%James L. OberstarMN-8D Yes Yes
62%Peter WelchVTDNo Yes
62%Nick J. Rahall IIWV-3D Yes Yes
62%Travis ChildersMS-1D NoNo
60%Jo Ann EmersonMO-8R Yes Yes
60%Ike SkeltonMO-4D Yes Yes
60%Charles “Chip” PickeringMS-3R Yes Yes
60%Bill ShusterPA-9RNo Yes
59%Dave CampMI-4RYes Yes
58%David R. ObeyWI-7D Yes Yes
57%Virginia FoxxNC-5RNo No
57%Ron KindWI-3D Yes Yes
57%Zack SpaceOH-18D Yes Yes