30 September 2008 18:35 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--US Senate leaders on Tuesday vowed that Congress will pass a financial rescue plan before the week ends, despite Monday’s setback with the House defeat of the controversial $700bn (€483bn) bailout plan.?xml:namespace>
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat-Nevada) said that “despite yesterday’s setback in the House of Representatives, this continued to be our foremost goal”. Reid is the top-ranking Democrat in the Senate, where his party holds a slim one-vote majority.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of ?xml:namespace>
“I too want to reassure the American people that we intend to pass this legislation this week,” McConnell said.
Both senators spoke on the floor of the Senate following a statement earlier on Tuesday by President George Bush, who said that “Congress must act” on the bailout bill in order to save the US economy.
Reid said he has spoken with White House officials and is having talks with other senators of both parties and with members of the House. The House is not in session on Tuesday or Wednesday but will return to business on Thursday.
“We are all committed to keeping the progress of the rescue package moving forward,” Reid said.
“In the coming days, I will continue doing everything possible to see this dire and avoidable financial crisis through to the best possible outcome and towards a future of stability and growth for our country’s economy,” he said.
Citing Monday’s 778-point decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average index, McConnell said that “I think the message from the markets yesterday was clear - this is not the time to fix the blame, this is the time to fix the problem”.
“So we will get the job done. We will get it done this week,” McConnell added.
“And I think, hopefully, that will reassure the American people that Congress can rise to the occasion, act like grown-ups, if you will, and get the job done for all of our people,” McConnell said.
House leaders declared on Monday that they will get a rescue package passed.
Monday’s defeat of the $700bn bailout plan was relatively close, with 228 members of the House voting against and 205 in support. The measure needed only a simple majority of 218, so Monday’s tally was just 13 votes shy of approval.
White House officials, other top Bush administration people and congressional leaders of both parties are working on slight changes in the bailout package sufficient to win those additional 13 votes in the House, sources said.
The bailout package is said to have fairly solid support in the Senate. There is speculation that the Senate may vote first on a revised bailout plan on Wednesday.
Approval by the Senate on Wednesday would put added pressure on the House to pass the measure when that chamber reconvenes on Thursday.
($1 = €.69)
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