White House, Congress push for bailout deal
Updated: 2008-09-28 09:07

WASHINGTON - Nervously eyeing the markets' next trading session, congressional Democrats and Republican senators pushed for an agreement Saturday on a multibillion-dollar bailout for the US financial sector.
House Republicans said they would not be stampeded into accepting an unwise rescue. But in a sign of possible progress, the House Rules Committee began drafting guidelines for a debate and vote that could take place as early as Sunday, which would send the bill to the Senate for final passage on Monday.

House Financial Services Chairman Rep. Barney Frank arrives at a meeting in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office regarding legislation on the financial crisis Saturday, September 27, 2008, on Capitol Hill in Washington. [Agencies]

US President Bush, seeking swift action, sent Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson back to the Capitol, where lawmakers were working through the weekend.

Presidential politics again played a role in the bargaining. Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama called key negotiators and portrayed themselves as helping without getting directly involved in the talks.
"The goal is to come up with a final agreement by tomorrow," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. "We may not be able to do that, but we're trying very hard."
He said he hoped for an announcement by 6 pm EDT Sunday, just hours before the Asian markets reopen for the week. "Everybody is waiting for this thing to tip a little bit too far," he said, so "we may not have another day."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said an announcement might come as early as Saturday night. But House Republican leaders, who have resisted some elements of the Bush administration's proposal, seemed less certain.
"There are a lot of issues still on the table," House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters at midafternoon, just as lawmakers entered the first negotiating session that involved senators and House members, not just staff members. "We should not be bailing out Wall Street on the backs of American taxpayers," he said.
Earlier, Bush expressed confidence that lawmakers soon would approve a rescue plan. He acknowledged that many Americans are frustrated and angry that up to $700 billion in tax dollars may be needed to cover Wall Street firms' mistakes.

The US president spoke with Paulson, McCain and other Republican lawmakers during the day, said White House spokesman Tony Fratto.
Last edited by Kreskin; Sep 28th, 2008 at 09:25 AM..