The Senate handily passed a controversial financial rescue package Wednesday, giving the bill its first legislative victory but adding provisions that could complicate efforts to push the $700 billion plan through the House of Representatives.
The compromise bill represented a marriage of the rescue proposal with a host of measures designed to win the support of reluctant lawmakers. Additions include an increase in bank deposit insurance limits, a suggested change to accounting rules, and a $150.5 billion package of unrelated personal and corporate tax cuts.
The additions boosted support in the Senate, which voted 74 to 25 in favor, the latest twist in the proposal's roller-coaster ride this week. Opposition came from conservatives, populists and senators facing tight races where the rescue bill is drawing criticism. ...
Presidential rivals Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama flew back to the Capitol to cast votes in favor.
The 10-year, $150.5 billion package of tax proposals includes a measure to ease the bite of the alternative minimum tax, as well as research-and-development tax credits coveted by high-tech companies and drug makers. Its addition is designed to secure the support of Republicans, who were overwhelmingly opposed in the House. But it could irk conservative House Democrats because the measure will add to the deficit.
The bill also reaffirms the Securities and Exchange Commission's authority to suspend so-called mark-to-market accounting, an issue that gained surprising traction among lawmakers looking for less costly alternatives to the Bush plan. ...
Banks have complained the strict application of mark-to-market rules have forced them to write down billions worth of mortgage-related securities for which there are no buyers, intensifying the squeeze in the credit markets.
The bill, which started out less than three pages long, now comprises more than 400 pages.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Senate passes bailout bill, 74-25
From The Wall Street Journal: