I would not get optimistic yet, since Our
Fearless Feckless Leader is on prime time tonight, but Republican legislators are telling the Treasury secretary that trying to rush a skeletal bill through is not going to succeed, and they need time to craft something more fully fleshed out.
House Republicans warned Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson today that his $700 billion financial rescue plan wouldn’t pass and asked for more time to consider alternative ideas, lawmakers said.
“The $700 billion bill is simply not going to pass, and they recognize that,” Representative Ray LaHood of Illinois said after Republicans met with Paulson behind closed doors at the U.S. Capitol today. “Now it is up to Congress.”
Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke asked lawmakers to come together quickly behind the proposal to help soothe financial markets, prevent bank failures and bolster the slowing economy, lawmakers who attended the meeting said.
They were met with requests for more time so other ideas could be examined. Representative Steven LaTourette, an Ohio Republican, said Republicans told Paulson they are prepared to stay in town beyond a planned Sept. 26 adjournment to negotiate.
“To say that there is a healthy dose of skepticism would be putting it mildly,” LaTourette said. “I think the overwhelming sentiment at this moment in time is, what’s the rush?”
Paulson and Bernanke showed some willingness to compromise after Republicans made clear “we are not going to have this thing jammed down our throat,” LaHood said.
“The door has been opened for us to make an offer and for those guys to see where it goes,” LaHood said. Paulson, he said, told lawmakers, “If you don’t like our plan, we’re willing to talk a bit.”
“We are going to stay here until we can come up with a plan,” said Spencer Bachus of Alabama, the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee.
Virginia Republican Tom Davis, who supports the administration’s program, said Paulson “had a tough audience” because “there is a huge credibility problem with this administration.”
“You still have a lot of members think they are crying wolf,” Davis said.