After health-care ‘no’ vote, congressman leaning back toward Democrats on issues

On President Obama’s health-care reform bill, Rep. Jim Marshall announced his opposition early and often.

His position surprised few observers. Marshall, D-Ga., is generally considered among the most conservative members of the House Democratic caucus.

In the coming months, Marshall is poised to remind voters that he is indeed still a Democrat. After last week’s health-care reform victory, Democrats are expected to pivot toward proposals that will likely meet favorable public opinion — with Marshall possibly coming back on board.

Marshall seems likely to join Democratic efforts this spring to dramatically increase federal oversight of the financial industry. Last week, the Senate Banking Committee approved a bill proposed by Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd that would tighten regulations of derivatives and empower the federal government to pare down large banks.

The Dodd proposal was approved on a party line vote.

“I am very interested in not being held hostage by ‘too-big-to-fail’ institutions in the future,” Marshall said in an interview Monday during a visit to Warner Robins, adding that he had not yet read the full details of the Dodd bill.

“I’m a Glass-Steagal guy,” he added, referring to a 1933 act of Congress that created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and prohibited commercial banks from merging with investment banks. The 1999 Financial Services Modernization Act, signed into law by former President Bill Clinton, repealed the Glass-Steagal restrictions on investment banks merging with commercial banks.

On jobs, Marshall has twice supported Democrat-led proposals, voting for Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus package, and for a bill approved this month that provides federal tax breaks for hiring new employees.

Obama and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi have signaled their intention to push through more proposals aimed at bolstering the job market.

Regarding health-care overhaul, Marshall signaled that he would not join GOP efforts to repeal the bill even after voting against it. If the Republicans take control of the House of Representatives this November — and if he is re-elected — Marshall said he would focus his efforts on “fixing” the bill.

“The president’s not going away for the next three years, and maybe thereafter,” Marshall said. “This bill’s going to need a lot of fixes, but the president is not going to go along with a repeal of the bill.”

To contact writer Thomas L. Day, call 744-4489.