Late Night: Tough Vote Ahead in House for Bail Out Bill

The NY Times reports that the House is bracing for a “difficult vote set for Monday on a $700 billion rescue of the financial industry after a weekend of tense negotiations produced a plan that Congressional leaders portrayed as greatly strengthened by new taxpayer safeguards.”

The 110-page bill, intended to ease a growing credit crisis, came after a frenzied week of political twists and turns that culminated in an agreement between the Bush administration and Congress early Sunday morning.

The measure still faced stiff resistance from Republican and Democratic lawmakers who portrayed it as a rush to economic judgment and an undeserved aid package for high-flying financiers who chased big profits through reckless investments.

The bail out package looms as a “final piece of business before lawmakers leave to campaign for the November elections, leaders of both parties in the House and Senate intensified their efforts to sell reluctant members of Congress on the legislation.”

Both sides of the aisle “had to surrender something.”

The administration had to accept limits on executive pay and tougher oversight; Democrats had to sacrifice a push to allow bankruptcy judges to rewrite mortgages; and Republicans fell short in their effort to require that the federal government insure, rather than buy, the bad debt.

The final version of the bail out bill includes a “deal-sealing plan for eventually recouping losses; if the Treasury program to purchase and resell troubled mortgage-backed securities has lost money after five years, the president must submit a plan to Congress to recover those losses from the financial industry. Presumably that plan would involve new fees or taxes, perhaps on securities transactions.”

This is a major, major change,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday evening as she declared that negotiations were over and that a House vote was planned for Monday, with Senate action to follow.

The deal would also restrict gold-plated farewells for executives of companies that sell devalued assets to the Treasury Department.

Monday will be the “day of reckoning” for the bail out plan Stay tuned

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