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Carolina representatives flipping on bailout vote

WASHINGTON – Rep. Sue Myrick, citing a need to avoid a "catastrophic credit meltdown," said she would vote today for a $700 billion bailout of the financial services sector, a few days after rejecting a similar version.

"I don't want to have to vote for this bill, and I'm not defending it," said the Charlotte Republican, saying it's "full of things that I don't believe in."

"But, we're on the cusp of a complete catastrophic credit meltdown. There is no liquidity in the market. We are out of time. Either you believe that fact, or you don't. I do."

Myrick said she was worried that if Congress didn't act now, "devastating unemployment" would follow and the nation was "simply out of time."

Myrick said earlier this week that when she returned to Charlotte, she encountered heightened tensions at home from folks facing long lines for gasoline and the sale of home-based Wachovia.

"All that has made people nervous and unsettled and everyone's a little anxious," she said. "That has helped to heighten the anxiety here."

Another N.C. Republican who planned to change his vote, Rep. Howard Coble of Greensboro, said the bill had been improved with an increase to $250,000, from $100,000, the amount of federally insured deposits and with other tax breaks for consumers.

"I don't believe the sky is falling," Coble said. "I will be voting aye today. It may be politically damaging and the sky may fall tomorrow, but it will fall upon my head, it won't fall upon anybody else's and no one else will be adversely affected.

"The limited access to credit, and in many instances, no access to credit can certainly contribute to a crisis. We can put on the blinders and go one way or the other, but this is a bill that must be addressed today."

Still some opponents couldn't be persuaded to vote for it.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a Democrat from Wilson, said he couldn't vote for it without added bankruptcy protection for consumers.

"I have the 15th poorest district in the United States," Butterfield said. "My people are hurting. They didn't contribute to this problem. They are the victims."

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