Senate plans vote on modified bailout bill

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Some House Republicans say current rules forced banks to report huge paper losses on mortgage-backed securities, which might have been avoided.

Moves that might attract more liberal Democratic support include giving bankruptcy judges more authority to rewrite mortgage terms and “cram-down” interest rates for homeowners threatened with foreclosure, which Republicans considered a deal-breaker in the original bill.

Democrats could also resurrect provisions to fund homeowner assistance through the liberal Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), add a transaction fee to stock trades to raise money for assistance programs, and extend unemployment insurance benefits.

Those moves might attract liberal black and Hispanic lawmakers who mostly opposed the bill Monday but would almost certainly cause more House Republicans to vote against the deal.

A day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, was accused by Republicans of scuttling the vote with a highly partisan floor speech, Democrats on Tuesday made several public attempts to show they are willing to work across party lines to reach an agreement.

Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid, in a letter sent to Mr. Bush Tuesday afternoon, pledged to continue “working with you and our Republican colleagues to enact a bipartisan bill without further delay.”

Meanwhile, supporters from the White House to the presidential candidates to congressional leaders said they failed in part because they lost the battle of words, and allowed the bill to be called a “bailout.” They countered that it is better described as a “rescue” package.

• Jon Ward and S.A. Miller contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

About the Author
David R. Sands

David R. Sands

Raised in Northern Virginia, David R. Sands received an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He worked as a reporter for several Washington-area business publications before joining The Washington Times.

At The Times, Mr. Sands has covered numerous beats, including international trade, banking, politics ...

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