Apparently there has been a pretty weird announcement. Progress is being made to sound like resolution. Since the House Republicans weren’t part of the photo op, it isn’t at all clear whether this is real.
First sighting from Clusterstock, will add updates as they come in:
Update (12:35 a.m.): Nancy Pelosi speaks first. She says we have a deal. Harry Reid is up next. He credits Pelosi with coming up with a new idea in the final hour but doesn’t even hint at what that is! Hank Paulson sounds less reassuring, mentioning that there is lots of work left to be done and concluding “so far, so good.”
Gregg just sounds glad to be able to go to bed. Roy Blunt admits he hasn’t talked to the House Republicans but seems confident. Blather from Dodd about how “unpleasant” having to “go through all this” has been.
Update (12:37 a.m.): It’s a secret deal! Until they get it down on paper overnight, we won’t know what they agreed to.
Except, except. We imagine that that the staff members and lawmakers will quickly be leaking details to reporters.
The part that has me perplexed is the confidence versus the apparent non-inclusion of the rebels. Or was someone dispatched to kneecap them?
Update 12:55 AM: Media reports are taking the announcement that a deal is on at face value. Given the reversal of last week, one hopes they have done a better job of getting everyone in line before making this pronouncement. From the Washington Post:
Congressional leaders and the Bush administration last night struck a historic accord to insert the government deeply into the nation’s financial markets, agreeing to spend up to $700 billion to relieve Wall Street of troubled assets backed by faltering home mortgages.
Negotiators emerged from a marathon session in the Capitol about 12:30 a.m. to announce that they had reached agreement on a proposal to give Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. broad authority to organize one of the biggest government interventions in the private sector since the Great Depression.
Full details of the plan were not immediately available. Lawmakers said their staffs would continue working through the night to commit them to paper….
Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), the senior Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, who has refused to participate in the talks, said a “critical mass” was forming behind the measure because lawmakers fear that their failure to act would cripple financial markets. The House is expected to vote on the plan as soon as today, with the Senate following as soon as Monday.
As with Iraq, the fear card worked.
Update 1:20 AM: More detail from Politico, which calls the deal tentative:
House and Senate negotiators have reached tentative agreement on a financial rescue plan after a marathon Capitol negotiating session that started Saturday afternoon and stretched into early Sunday morning.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said their “breakthrough” still had to be “committed to paper,” a process that was expected to continue through the night.
“We have something verbal,” said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.).
Republican Whip Roy Blunt, the chief negotiator for House Republicans, said he was “looking forward to what we’re going to see on paper” and was optimistic that it would be something House Republicans could support….
The plan would likely give Paulson a relatively free hand accessing the first $350 billion of the $700 billion he sought. It was not clear when the remaining $350 billion would become available, but Treasury apparently agreed that a future Congress could block its release though a joint resolution signed by the president.
The agreement would also include much greater oversight than the Bush administration had initially proposed; an opportunity for the government to take an equity share in the companies it helps, either through warrants or options to buy stock; and a provision limiting the compensation paid to executives of those companies.
To help win the support of House Republicans, the agreement also would likely include an option under which Paulson and future Treasury secretaries could choose to sell companies government-backed insurance to cover securities – thereby improving their value – rather than buy the assets as initially proposed.
A vote in the House could come as early as Monday, Emanuel said.
House GOP leaders had warned Saturday evening that they would need to take any deal to their rank-and-file members before committing to the deal.