House Passes Rescue Plan in Second Vote
Friday, October 03, 2008
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WASHINGTON — In a nail-biter, the House Friday approved the Bush administration's $700 billion financial markets rescue package, a measure promoted as a means to prevent a U.S. economic collapse.
Lawmakers voted 263-171 to pass the bill. It was the second time this week the House voted. On Monday, it rejected an earlier version, but accepted changes after the Senate added sweeteners and supported it on Wednesday.
President Bush will now sign the bill into law.
Before the vote, member after member went to the well of the chamber to voice discomfort and displeasure with many aspects of the bailout legislation. But they also said they would vote for it anyway. And nearly 30 members who voted against it on Monday said beforehand that they had changed their minds.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered a decidedly less partisan speech stressing the importance of passing the measure. She called it a vote for "Mr. and Mrs. Jones on Main Street."
Some Republicans blamed Pelosi for the bill failing Monday because she gave what they viewed as partisan speech before the vote.
Hanging over Friday's vote was a gloomy unemployment report that revealed the economy lost 159,000 jobs in September, the most jobs cut during one month in the past five years.
Most lawmakers who switched to a 'yes' vote this time said it's a bitter pill, but changes by the Senate to the rescue plan made it easier to swallow. Among the incentives cited were the federal deposit insurance limit being raised from $100,000 to $250,000, the addition of alternative minimum tax relief for middle-income Americans and several tax breaks for businesses. The Senate passed the bill 74-25.
Newfound supporters say they also started receiving more calls from constituents in favor of the bailout package, which many described as a lesser evil than doing nothing.
"I voted against a bad bailout bill on Monday, and will now vote for a better rescue plan, not because I like it or want to, but because we fought as hard as we could for more reforms," said Tennessee Rep. Zach Wamp, one of the 133 House Republicans who joined 95 Democrats in rejecting the measure Monday, sending the stock market plummeting.