Monday, September 29, 2008

Surprise! House demands more scrutiny of bailout proposal

How did they do it? Somehow, the U.S. House of Representatives resisted what must have been unbelievable pressure to panic from the White House and many members of the public and rejected, at least initially, a proposed the Bush administration's $700 billion plan to bail out the banking industry. Stocks plummeted around the world following the vote, forcing some $1.7 trillion in paper wealth to disappear. House Republicans led the opposition to the bill, which failed, 228-205, despite appeals from Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, according to the Reuters international news service. The administration touted the bill as the best opportunity to keep the financial system afloat and prevent the U.S. economy from slipping into recession. But opposition came from Republicans who felt the plan violated their laissez-faire philosophy and Democrats who objected to bailing out mortgage companies and investment banks responsible for the collapse of the real estate market. "This isn't legislation. This is extortion," said Republican Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida. "This is so embarrassing it turns the stomach of most Americans." But Bush and his advisers disagreed with that assessment while trying to figure out what to do next. "I was disappointed in the vote that the United States Congress (had) on the economic rescue plan," Bush said in Washington, according to Reuters. "Our strategy is to continue to address this economic situation head-on and we'll be working to develop a strategy that will enable us to continue to move forward." The U.S. Senate still plans to take up the bill and could propose changes to make it more palatable to representatives. Bush plans to address the nation on the economic crisis on Tuesday.

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