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House GOP won’t rush bailout plan
“Any time you have a plan this big that is moving this quickly that requires legislative approval, it creates challenges,” Mr. Bush said. “Members want to be heard; they want to be able to express their opinions; and they should be allowed to.”
Mr. Bush also met Friday with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the White House and spoke with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, reassuring both leaders that the rescue plan would be effective and would soon be passed by Congress. Both men expressed support for the U.S. government’s plan.
The Wall Street aid package got a significant endorsement when former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and Reagan administration Treasury Secretary George Shultz called for its quick passage.
“Past experience with financial crises shows that overall economic activity contracts soon after the crisis, unless swift corrective action alleviates the crisis,” the two said in a letter to the Wall Street Journal.
White House aides said Mr. Bush was calling Republicans in Congress on Friday to lobby for a compromise, but declined to identify the targets of the effort. Vice President Dick Cheney has canceled travel plans to stay in Washington and work with House Republicans, among whom he has strong support.
Edward Gillespie, a top adviser to the president, told reporters in an impromptu talk that conservative Republican concerns about the package were “legitimate.”
“Their ideas are good ones,” he said, adding that the White House has already accepted some proposals, while declining to identify which ones.
Mr. Gillespie, who worked on Capitol Hill for more than a decade, said lawmakers studying the rescue package want to “shape it and work it,” and the White House was willing to give them time to do that.
But he acknowledged that with some Republicans who oppose the idea of a taxpayer bailout on principle, there can be no debate.
The bailout would authorize the Treasury Department to buy up to $700 billion of bad mortgages and mortgage-based assets on the books of the nation’s banks and financial firms.
The emerging compromise between the Bush administration and senior Democratic lawmakers - which has not been nailed down - would include restrictions on pay for executives of companies that receive federal aid and a more congressional say about when the money can be spent, provisions Mr. Paulson had originally resisted.
The list of principles also include help for homeowners facing foreclosure, judicial review of Treasury transactions under the plan and a chance for the government to take an ownership stake in companies being bailed out.
In one major administration concession, the Treasury secretary would receive the authority to spend up to $350 billion immediately, with Congress having the power to veto the additional $350 billion authorization later.
Lawmakers report a deluge of telephone calls and e-mails from constituents opposing a bailout, but a new Associated Press-Knowledge Networks poll released Friday painted a more mixed picture.
The survey, conducted Thursday, found 30 percent of those polled supported the Treasury’s bailout plan, with 45 percent opposed and 25 percent undecided.
About the Author
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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