Senate adds sweeteners to bailout bill

October 1, 2008 7:13:11 PM PDT
Supporters of the newest bailout bill tried Wednesday to turn the momentum in the struggle, first by casting it as a rescue and then suggesting it is really not that bad.

In the Senate, backers of the bailout argued it is an investment.

"We may lose some money, but it's more likely in my opinion that we will come close to breaking even and we may actually, some people tell us, make money," said Republican Sen. Jud Gregg of New Hampshire.

"If this is managed correctly, and that's an important if, we will hopefully get most or all of our money back, and possibly even turn a profit on the government's intervention," said Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama.

"The government will hold these assets. Over time they will make money and the government will be the first paid back," said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinsteine of California.

The Senate added sweeteners like raising the FDIC insurance on bank deposits from $100,000 to $250,000. They also extended tax credits for taxpayers and businesses, including those providing alternative energy.

"So this legislation before us is much improved," said Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California.

But will it be enough to bring along House Republicans and not scare away fiscally conservative House Democrats?

"I just have to believe that following a large Senate vote in support of the package, that the House would think twice before bringing that package down to defeat again," said Leon Panetta, a former congressman from Monterey and a White House chief of staff under President Clinton.

Panetta blames Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson for crafting the original request without congressional input.

"In my experience, if you don't include the key members that you have to include so they feel like they're part of it, they're going to work against you and they're going to try to defeat you and that's exactly what happened," said Panetta.

Wednesday the president spent much of the day calling lawmakers while Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain reminded members of Congress and voters what he believes is at stake.

"If the financial rescue bill fails in Congress yet again, the present crisis will turn into a disaster," said Sen. McCain.


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