01 October 2008 21:44 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--The US House of Representatives will not consider the $700bn (€497bn) financial rescue package until Friday, a top House Democrat said on Wednesday, adding that the bailout bill will not be voted on unless support is assured.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of ?xml:namespace>
He said the House will reconvene on Thursday, apparently to work on building support for the rescue plan among the many Democrats and Republicans who voted against it on Monday.
The House is expected to consider a version of the bailout bill that the US Senate appears all but certain to approve later today.
The Senate version includes tax breaks for average families and broader federal protection for personal bank accounts, features that are expected to win more support for the rescue measure among Republicans in the House.
“Members of the House leadership on both sides of the aisle are talking to our colleagues,” Hoyer said.
“If there is bipartisan, majority support for the Senate package, we will likely bring it to the floor on Friday,” Hoyer said.
That means that unless Democrat and Republican leaders in the House are certain in advance that the measure has enough House support for passage, they will not put the bill forward for a vote. That tactic apparently is aimed at avoiding the kind of stock market upheaval that followed Monday’s vote of rejection.
The addition of tax breaks for average income earners and greater protection for personal bank accounts is designed to appeal to Republicans in the House who objected to the huge debt burden the rescue plan would put on taxpayers without offering average citizens some relief.
In the House defeat on Monday, 95 Democrats and 133 Republicans voted against the bailout, which was defeated by only 13 votes. There is speculation that the added tax breaks and bank account protections could win enough Republican support in the House to win approval for the rescue plan, even if a few more Democrats voted against it.
If the rescue plan wins approval in the Senate late on Wednesday as anticipated - and with a hefty majority of the 100 senators - there will be intense pressure on House members to sign on to the deal and get it passed.
But with a House vote on the controversial measure now scheduled for Friday at the earliest, US and other trading markets are likely to see continued instability until then.
($1 = €0.71)
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