President George W. Bush has jumped on a new bandwagon. With the Wall Street bailout a hot topic in Washington, President Bush announced today a further bailout, for struggling lawyers.
Speaking at Tuffy's Pub in Alexandria, President Bush explained in some detail: "Me and Alberto [Gonzalez] were talking, and we figured that this crisis was pushing a lot of lawyers to the edge. You know the ones who graduate law school and manage on $160K a year plus bonus. With all the student loans and fancy shoes, they just can't make it, especially in a year like this when the bonuses will be small."
The lawyer bailout is doing well on Capitol Hill. John Edwards, an attorney and former presidential candidate, is working with the Democratic leadership. And there are plenty of other attorneys in Congress who also support the idea.
The first draft of Senate Bill 666 calls for $100 billion a year for each of the next ten years. Ninety percent of the money will be specifically for attorneys who work for the federal government in Washington DC and whose jobs involve shaping legislation. The remaining ten percent will be set aside for lawyers who work for Supreme Court judges, in part to ensure the law passes constitutional muster.
A surprising number of lawyers have criticized the legislation. Allen Dipshitowitz complained that the bill is really designed to benefit the members of Congress and does nothing for lawyers who help shape public opinion through media appearances and writing books that no one actually reads.
S666, introduced by Hillary Clinton, has 90 cosponsors in the Senate. A parallel bill in the House also has wide support, though Ron Paul and Jeff Flake oppose it because it smacks of earmarks and isn't enumerated in the Constitution.
President Bush has promised to sign the bill if it comes before him, but only if the Texas Rangers make the playoffs. Clinton assured the media that Congress would override any veto.