Well I am now convinced there is a deal of sorts. The New York Times is reporting Breakthrough Reached in Negotiations on Bailout.
Officials said that Congressional staff members would work through the night to finalize the language of the agreement and draft a bill, and that the bill would be brought to the House floor for a vote on Monday.
The bill includes pay limits for some executives whose firms seek help, aides said. And it requires the government to use its new role as owner of distressed mortgage-backed securities to make more aggressive efforts to prevent home foreclosures.
In some cases, the government would receive an equity stake in companies that seek aid, allowing taxpayers to profit should the rescue plan work and the private firms flourish in the months and years ahead.
The White House also agreed to strict oversight of the program by a Congressional panel and conflict-of-interest rules for firms hired by the Treasury to help run the program.
Officials said they had also agreed to include a proposal by House Republicans that gives the Treasury secretary an additional option of issuing government insurance for troubled financial instruments as a way of reducing the amount of taxpayer money spent up front on the rescue effort.
The Treasury would be required to create the insurance program, officials said, but not necessarily to use it. Mr. Paulson had expressed little interest in that plan, and initial cost projections suggested it would be enormously expensive. But final details were not immediately available.
Saturday’s intense negotiating effort followed a tumultuous week, including a contentious meeting at the White House with President Bush and the two presidential candidates.
Congressional leaders who want the bailout to pass with solid bipartisan support had already begun to anxiously court votes, mindful of the difficulty they could face in a high-stakes election year.
Public opinion polls show the bailout plan to be deeply unpopular. Conservative Republicans have denounced the plan as an affront to free market capitalism, while some liberal Democrats criticize it as a giveaway to Wall Street.
Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri, the chief negotiator for House Republicans, who have been among the most reluctant to support the plan, expressed some satisfaction but did not commit his members’ support.
“We need to look and see where we are on paper tomorrow,” Mr. Blunt said. “We have been talking about how we can make these things work in a way that our conference can come together.”
Aides described a tense meeting on Saturday afternoon that included Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, shouting at Mr. Paulson about executive pay caps.
Outside, stunned tourists visiting the Capitol watched as camera operators shoved one another to get footage of lawmakers talking outside of the meeting room.
At one point, when too much information was leaking out, staff members’ BlackBerrys were confiscated and collected in a trash bin.
The money will disbursed in parts, with an initial $250 billion to get the rescue effort under way, followed by another $100 billion upon a report by Mr. Bush to Congress.
The president could then request the balance of $350 billion at any time. If Congress disapproved, it would have to act within 15 days to deny the Treasury the money.
Some lawmakers have made clear that they will not vote for the bailout plan under virtually any terms. “I didn’t want to be in the negotiations because I object to the basic principles of this,” said Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the senior Republican on the banking committee, who would normally be his party’s point man.
Pressed about his role, Mr. Shelby replied, “My position is ‘No.’ ”
There is a bill in the house. There is not one in the Senate so we need to create as much doubt as we can, as soon as we can.
Do they have the votes? That is another story. They won’t if we can scare every junior member in the house, or appeal to the right few in the Senate.
There are still changes worth getting. So let’s get them.
I want to press with two campaigns:
“Dear [congressional rep]. I have read the latest proposal and I have come to the same conclusion. No Deal.
Where are the salary caps and limits on stock options?
Salary caps and elimination of all stock options MUST be included in any proposal, not just for executives, but for every employee in the company.
Also $700 billion is way too high, piecemeal or not. And the plan is still fatally flawed. The overall approach is simply the wrong one. 190+ economists think the plan will not work, so does former Treasury Secretary O’Neil, and so do CEOs of well run banks.
New Proposal Cedes Congressional Authority To The Administration
The limit on any bailout should be no more than $250 billion flat out with no automatic escalations. If Congress thinks more money is needed it can vote to provide more money later. Ceding blank check power to the president and requiring super majorities to override would set a dangerous precedent. I am appalled that the administration would ask for such power and I am even more appalled that Congress would be willing to structure a bill this way.
Ceding power to the treasury on how to best implement the insurance provision is also a terrible idea. Congress, not the Treasury should stipulate how insurance should work. Leaving insurance to the discretion of the Treasury is tantamount to agreeing there should not be insurance.
Reason For The Mad Rush To Act Quickly
The reason for a “mad rush” to do something is that the administration does not want Congress to think about what is happening. And what is happening is this revised bill transfers congressional authority to the administration. Just Say No!
I will vote out of office anyone who votes for this revised plan, and I will encourage all my friends to do the same.
If you do not have internet faxing get it.
I went with MetroFax. 1000 pages at a very cheap price.
If you are reading this most likely you can afford $12.
Sign up today and fax to your heart’s content.
Contact The House
Please fax AND phone your congressional representative and Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, and Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D)(202) 225-4965
Rep. Barney Frank (D)(202) 225-5931
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) (202) 224-3841
Sen. Richard Shelby (R) (202) 224-5744
Sen. Harry Reid (D) 202-224-3542
Sen. Jim DeMint (R) 202-224-6121
Sen. John Ensign (R) (202) 224-6244
Sen. Jim Bunning (R) 202.224.4343
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) (202) 224-3744
Sen. John McCain (R) 202-224-2235
Sen. Barack Obama (D) (202) 224-2854
Call them with this simple message “I have seen the revised bill, you will lose my vote if it passes“.
Congressional Phone And Fax Numbers
Click Here For Congresional Phone And Fax Numbers
Senate Fax List
Please fax everyone on this list.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R) 202-224-3416 or 202-224-5137 (try both not sure which is correct)
Sen. Harry Reid (D) 202-224-7327
Sen. Jim DeMint (R) 202-228-5143
Sen. John Ensign (R) 202-228-2193
Sen. Jim Bunning (R) 202-228-1373
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) 202-224-6020
Sen John McCain (R) 202-228-2862
Sen. Barack Obama 202-228-4260
Sen. John D. Rockefeller 202-224-7665
Sen. Dianne Feinstein 202-228-3954
Sen. Ron Wyden 202-228-2717
Sen. Evan Bayh 202-228-1377
Sen. Barbara Mikulski 202-224-8858
Sen. Bill Nelson 202-228-2183
Sen. John Kerry 202-224-8525
Sen. Daniel Inouye 202-224-6747
Sen. Hillary Clinton 202-228-0282
Rep. Barney Frank 202-225-0182
Rep. Nancy Pelosi 202-225-4188
Please Fax own senators and representative as well.
The second campaign can be found in Senator Dianne Feinstein Responds To Constituents.
Please act on both.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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