The Debate Has Begun; Hoyer Expects Vote Today
The Post's Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane are reporting that the House began debate on the procedures for considering the $700 billion bailout package and a vote is expected be held this afternoon.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) put out a statement late last night declaring that the vote will be held today, a signal that Democratic leaders believe they have the votes to pass it. It was defeated in a close House vote Monday but the House is now considering a package that the Senate passed Wednesday.
"The House will consider the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act" this morning, Hoyer said. "I am hopeful that there will be bipartisan, majority support for this bill that is critical to stabilizing our nation's economy for all working Americans."
After calls from Senator Barack Obama, aides to Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. said he had moved from "no" to "maybe."
Lawmakers, who are currently debating the rules for formal debate, expect to vote on final passage of the legislation between 12:30 and 1 p.m., close to the same time that the vote was called on Monday.
In one final meeting to talk things over, House Republicans huddled in the Cannon Caucus Room across the street from the Capitol, with their leaders needing to secure far more than the 65 GOP votes that they got for the bill earlier this week.
As rank-and-file lawmakers stepped to the podiums, passion poured out. "This may be the day America died," said Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Va.), an opponent of the bill who heckled her leaders during the extended vote Monday demanding they gavel it shut.
Also this morning, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), who voted for the measure on Monday, said he had a message for Wall Street financiers who brought the economy to this brink: "Take a long walk off a short pier."
McGovern said that it might be therapeutic to vote against the legislation, but it would be a mistake because the economic crisis would then further filter into small towns across the nation. "Anger won't keep anyone in their house," McGovern said.
- Michael S. Rosenwald
October 3, 2008; 10:17 AM ET
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