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US $700-billion bailout talks fail

Source: PTI
September 26, 2008 17:48 IST
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The high-level meeting of the probables for the post of the US President with George W Bush failed to reach a compromise on the $700-billion bailout package with Republicans denouncing the strategy as ill-conceived and Democrats accusing the other party of non-cooperation.

"In a roller-coaster day of hopes raised and hopes dashed, efforts to negotiate a compromise on the $700-billion plan for rescuing the nation's financial system got bogged down on Thursday," reported Los Angeles Times.

According to media reports, it was unclear whether the breakdown marked the beginning of the end for the rescue effort, or merely a tumultuous interlude on the way to approving a federal bailout that many in Congress consider unpalatable but unavoidable.

The meeting was called by President Bush to discuss the plan to bailout financial system with Democrat Presidential candidate Barack Obama and his Republican counterpart John McCain.

The report further stated that there were signs that, behind the scenes, sceptical Democrats and Republicans were beginning to move toward a compromise version of Treasury Secretary Henry M Paulson's original plan, but it remained to be seen whether there would be enough votes to pass legislation.

The report quoted Republican John Campbell as saying, "I'm seeing both Republicans and Democrats start to move toward voting for it. I can't tell you that there's a majority at this point, but there's movement."

Democrats and Republicans from both houses of Congress, joined by Paulson, had returned to the bargaining table yesterday in another unsuccessful attempt to craft a proposal that could command majority support.

Democratic leaders said they would resume Friday morning without Paulson, but they contended that no deal was possible without at least some House Republican support, the report added.

On Wednesday, President George Bush had assured that tougher controls would be imposed on spending of taxpayers' money.

"This rescue effort is not aimed at preserving any individual company or industry -- it is aimed at preserving America's overall economy," Bush said while addressing the nation.

The resistance to the bailout package calmed down after US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson agreed to impose some limits on the pay packets of executives of the companies which would be benefiting from the $700-billion assistance.

The bailout package was necessitated by the financial crisis which saw collapse of the 158-year-old Lehman Brothers and forced the administration to provide massive assistance to giants like Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and AIG.

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