White House: McCain Campaign’s Attack On Congress ‘Isn’t That Smart’

On the McCain campaign plane today, top adviser Steve Schmidt slammed congressional leaders for adjourning for recess on Sept. 26 before attempting to legislate a fix for the recent Wall Street meltdown:

It is a disgrace, a disgrace that the Democratic Congress would say, ‘We’re going to leave Washington and we think this benefits us politically. … When the democratic leadership in the Congress says we’ll deal with this after the election, we’re going home now is a clear indication that they’re not interested in working, you know, in a bipartisan way, where everybody sits in a room and says we have a major problem here in this country.

The White House, however, thinks a rush to pass legislation isn’t prudent. In today’s briefing, Press Secretary Dana Perino said she didn’t know if the White House even had a legislative request for Congress to act on, and hesitated to push legislation during a “market correction”:

I don’t know if we will have specific actions that we would ask them to take. … But I think Democrats themselves, and maybe some Republicans, have questioned whether or not they will be able to get anything done in the next two weeks. And it probably isn’t that smart to try to finalize a legislation in the middle of a market correction as we’re trying to figure out what other possible necessary steps may or may not need to be taken as we move forward.

Perino said any call for a lame-duck session is “premature,” adding, “I think right now that the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve have things in hand.” Watch it:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) echoed this sentiment, saying that “lawmakers first would need a better understanding of how the problems developed,” before legislating any remedy, CQ reports. Congress “has to find out what happened, why it happened, who is responsible and how we ought to go forward in the future,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), rejecting calls for passing legislation immediately.

While Schmidt claimed Congress is “not interested in working” and is simply saying “we’re going home now,” Pelosi said that as of yet, “she had not been briefed on any legislative plan by Paulson,” CQ adds. It seems Schmidt was the one looking for a scapegoat to score political points.