Near or Not?

25Sep08

Ready to go into a 4pm White House meeting, it’s unclear whether congress has hammered out acceptable terms for an agreement.

Key Republicans and Democrats reported agreement Thursday on an outline for a historic $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, but there was still resistance from rank-and-file House Republicans despite warnings of an impending panic.

“I now expect we will, indeed, have a plan that can pass the House, pass the Senate, be signed by the president and bring a sense of certainty to this crisis that is sill roiling in the market,” Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, said as members of both parties emerged from a two-hour negotiating session.

“We’re very confident that we can act expeditiously,” said Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., the Banking Committee chairman.

Some are being much more reserved in their analysis. Are they delaying the celebration on behalf of John McCain? No reason to think that Republicans won’t be as willing to politicize this as Democrats have been.

Not everyone in the closed-door talks was as optimistic. Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama, the only House Republican in the bargaining meeting, stopped short of saying he agreed with the other lawmakers on an imminent deal.

“There was progress today,” said Bachus, the senior Republican on the House Financial Services panel.

Later, he issued a statement saying he was not empowered to strike any deals and there was “no agreement other than to continue discussions.”

Both houses’ Republican leaders, Rep. John Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell, also issued statements saying there was no agreement.

Good old Bill Clinton comes through again, reminding people that Democrats share some of the blame for the current situation.



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