A California congressman opposed to the Bush administration’s bailout package said “the sky did not fall” after the House rejected the bill, despite consternations from “Wall Street fear mongers.”

Rep. Brad Sherman (D) didn’t call Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson a Chicken Little outright, but he did say the dire consequences Paulson and others warned about didn’t happen after the House rejected the bailout Monday.

“They claimed the market would drop by 2,000 points if we failed to do so quickly,” Sherman wrote in a letter to colleagues on Wednesday that criticized the authors of the bill. “The bailout bill’s prospects are still uncertain. Yet at its close yesterday the Dow stood at 10,850, down just 1.5 percent from Thursday’s close.”

He also said the drop in the stock market after the bill’s failure Monday has been exaggerated. Though the 777-point fall was the largest point drop in the history of the Dow Jones index, Sherman said that percentage-wise, it was the 17th largest daily drop.

Sherman has become a leader of opponents to the bailout after he put out an impromptu call for skeptics of the bill to meet in a Rayburn meeting room. The members who showed up are now referred to by some as the “Skeptics Caucus.”

Sherman was among 95 Democrats who voted no on the $700 billion package, which failed 205-228. The Senate is to vote tonight on a package that now includes a “patch” for the alternative minimum tax and extensions of popular tax credits.

After rising hundreds of points on Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial average was down 80 points at about 1:45 p.m. Eastern time.

Supporters of the Treasury plan have warned that tightening credit markets that make it harder for businesses to get loans are the greatest danger to the economy.