The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a historic and
controversial 700 billion-dollar government rescue plan for the
battered financial industry.
The vote was 263 to 171.
President George Bush quickly signed the measure into law Friday. The
Senate passed it Wednesday. Mr. Bush thanked Democrats for helping to
pass the measure, but warned it will take time for the bill to put the
economy back on track.
The measure allows the government to buy failing investments from
troubled financial companies in an effort to restore lender and
investor confidence, and to restart lending and economic growth.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says he will get right to work hiring
experts needed to manage the program. U.S. Federal Reserve (central bank) chairman
Ben Bernanke says he will continue using all the tools at his disposal
to ease the credit crunch and get the economy growing again.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, promised to hold a
congressional hearing to investigate parts of the financial industry.
Before the vote, House (Democratic) Majority Leader Steny
Hoyer urged his colleagues to approve the package. He said the problems
of investors on Wall Street are hurting the jobs, retirements and homes
of millions of ordinary Americans.(Republican) Minority Leader John Boehner also supported the
measure, telling colleagues that failure to act could bring an economic
slump "the likes of which few of us have ever seen."