Deal Stalls, Talks Continue Into Night
Hours after some key congressional leaders said the $700 billion Wall Street bailout was all but signed, chafing from some members -- including House Republicans -- has stalled the bailout's forward progress, sending talks into the night.
At the moment, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is hudding in a conference room off the Senate chamber with Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) in an effort to hammer out some form of acceptable compromise.
Bachus said he has not been authorized to negotiate on behalf of his caucus, so his purpose at the meeting is unclear.
Earlier in the day, Bachus drew criticism from Frank, who appeared the most optimistic of all that a deal was about to be struck. Frank said that in bi-partisan meetings today, Bachus had no questions about the bailout deal, but afterward raised concerns with the press that Bachus said came from him and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who suspended his presidential campaign to participate in the bailout talks.
The meeting underway started a little after 8 p.m. tonight and a statement is anticipated near 11 p.m.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) wandered by the meeting and staged an ad hoc press conference, blasting the proposed bailout deal.
"We would like to get a program in place people can buy into," said Graham, a longtime McCain ally. "We're not for the Paulson proposal," Graham said.
-- Lori Montgomery
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