Bush urges lawmakers to pass bailout plan

September 22, 2008 7:00:28 PM PDT
A bailout plan is being negotiated between the Bush Administration and leaders on Capitol Hill, and both sides said a great deal of progress was made on Monday.

President Bush issued a statement urging quick action, warning Congress not to add a lot of unrelated provisions to the bailout -- "the whole world is watching" he said. Mr. Bush is now in New York, where he'll discuss the bailout with world leaders at the United Nations this week.

The Bush Administration has agreed to some demands from Democrats.

But Wall Street is eager for a solution: The Dow Industrials fell 372 points on Monday, closing barely above the 11,000 mark.

A lot of investors are putting their money into commodities and oil traders, betting that an improved economy will increase demand, drove up the price of crude today by more than $16 a barrel -- the biggest one-day increase ever.

Congress and the White House need get this plan in place quickly to get this plan in place before the crisis gets worse. In Washington lawmakers say they've got about a week.

Late on Monday afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats are working to insulate 'Main Street' from the crisis on Wall Street.

"To protect the interest of America's families as they sit down at their tables at night to understand that we are acting in their behalf," said Pelosi.

The House and the Bush Administration have agreed to $700 billion bailout to purchase troubled mortgages. They agreed on reducing home foreclosures, and they've agreed on setting up an oversight board.

The two biggest areas of disagreement: the House wants to protection for homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages. Specifically they want a bankruptcy judge to be able to lower interest rates, and the Democrats don't want any of the $700 billion going to pay for executive bonuses or golden parachutes.

Walnut Creek Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher used to be a vice president at Bear Sterns.

"I think no one believes people should be rewarded for taking extraordinary risks and not having the capital to maintain these markets," said Tauscher.

But Tauscher does not support the idea of letting bankruptcy judges lower interest rates, and ABC7'S political analyst says banks are lobbying hard against that proposal.

And the clock is ticking.

"These negotiations I think over the next couple of days are most important, because if you get towards the end of the week and the panic starts to set in, then you'll have even less leverage," said ABC7 Political Analyst Professor Bruce Cain.

The panic professor Cain is talking about is Wall Street panic. If investors start bailing out of the markets, the window for negotiation closes.

"If it really looks like you have to move very, very quickly and there isn't time for negotiation then they're going to have to throw a lot of their demands overboard," said Cain.

Why would they do that? Because if the financial situation deteriorates Congress and particularly Democrats could wind up taking the blame -- and we're just six weeks away from election day.


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