U.S. President George Bush is urging lawmakers in the U.S. House of
Representatives to follow the Senate and pass a revised version of a
massive government rescue plan for the U.S. financial system.
The Senate passed the 700-billion-dollar plan late Wednesday by a vote
of 74 to 25. Both presidential candidates -- Democrat Barack Obama and
Republican John McCain -- returned to Washington from the campaign
trail to vote for the measure.
The bill grants the money to the U.S. Treasury to buy up bad mortgages held by banks and other financial institutions.
House lawmakers rejected an earlier version of the bill Monday, sending
stocks to their biggest one-day loss ever.
The president says the
measure is "essential to the financial security of every American.
Democratic and Republican Senate leaders added a number of amendments to help the bill attract support from enough lawmakers.
It includes tax breaks for businesses and middle-class taxpayers,
limits on large benefits and monetary settlements for the heads of
failed financial institutions, and it raises the federal insurance on
bank deposits from 100-thousand to 250-thousand dollars.
Buying up the bad mortgages would take a large financial burden off
banks and other money lenders, allowing them to start issuing credit
again to businesses and consumers.
Conservatives who oppose the bailout bill believe in principle that the
federal government should not intervene in the financial markets.
Liberals who oppose it believe the measure is aimed at bailing out Wall
Street at the expense of U.S. taxpayers.
The House plans to hold a second vote on the bill Friday.