Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Key players in the Bailout Deal

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Top U.S. policy makers emerged from hours of tense negotiations with a clear message just after midnight Sunday morning: A deal to bailout U.S. financial markets has been agreed on and all that remains to be done is to commit the legislation to paper. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, right, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, second left, and Sen. Judd Gregg, left, announce a tentative deal on legislation regarding the financial crisis just after midnight Sunday. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.), were flanked by key negotiators in the Capitol as they announced that a $700 billion plan to have Treasury buy up toxic assets had been all but finalized after hours of exhausting negotiations. "I think we're there," an exhausted Mr. Paulson said, a sentiment echoed in the statements of negotiators such as House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D., Mass.) and Senate Banking Committee head Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.). Those present said the bailout plan still needs to be drafted in its final form, a process staff members were expected to continue throughout the night in what one aide called a "marathon drafting session" in Ms. Pelosi's office just off the rotunda in the Capitol building. A formal announcement is scheduled for some time Sunday, though an exact time and location were not immediately available. A summary of the tentative agreement released by Ms. Pelosi's office said the plan "gives taxpayers an ownership stake and profit-making opportunities with participating companies; puts taxpayers first in line to recover assets if a participating company fails; (and) guarantees taxpayers are repaid in full -- if other protections have not actually produced a profit." Additionally, the summary said the legislation will expand the range of firms that can sell troubled assets to the government to include pension plans, local governments and community banks serving "low- and middle-income families." A House Democratic aide said the government would be able to receive warrants it could hold until maturity from financial firms on assets received either through auctions or through direct purchases. The summary also said the legislation would institute new executive-compensation requirements for participating companies, including "no multi million dollar golden parachutes," limits on compensation generally, and the ability to recover "bonuses paid based on promised gains that later turn out to be false or inaccurate." President George W. Bush spoke with Ms. Pelosi earlier in the evening about the discussions, and the White House welcomed news of the deal. "We're very pleased with the progress tonight and appreciate the extraordinary bipartisan efforts being made to stabilize our financial markets and protect our economy," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said.

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Tentative agreement on bailout falls apart
Urgent efforts to lash together a $700 billion rescue plan for the national economy broke apart Thursday night, hours after key lawmakers had declared they had reached a deal.
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Tentative deal reached on market bailout
WASHINGTON — Congressional negotiators and the Bush administration's top Treasury officials are set to go to work today on settling the final details of a historic $700-billion Wall Street bailout aimed at keeping credit flowing and saving the ...
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Source: Detroit Free Press
NewsDateTime: 1 hour ago

US Congress leaders, Bush administration reach tentative deal on ...
Congressional leaders and the Bush administration have reached a tentative deal on a landmark bailout of imperiled financial markets whose collapse could plunge the nation into a deep recession. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the US$700 billion ...
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Source: MSN UK News
NewsDateTime: 5 hours ago

Lawmakers Reach Tentative Bailout Deal
2 of 10 Top U.S. policy makers emerged from hours of tense negotiations with a clear message just after midnight Sunday morning: A deal to bailout U.S. financial markets has been agreed on and all that remains to be done is to commit the legislation ...
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Source: Wall Street Journal
NewsDateTime: 5 hours ago

US Congress, White House reach financial bailout deal
WASHINGTON: Congressional leaders and the Bush administration have reached a tentative deal on a bailout of imperilled financial markets that could cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. The House could vote on it Sunday and the Senate on ...
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Source: Times of India
NewsDateTime: 6 hours ago

Accord on rescue plan
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Congressional leaders said shortly after midnight that they had reached a tentative deal over the White House's proposed $700 billion bailout of the financial system. Members of both parties and Treasury Secretary Henry ...
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Source: CNN Money
NewsDateTime: 53 minutes ago


The next step will involve selling the deal to rank-and-file lawmakers, who have been unhappy over signing on to a giant bailout package just weeks before the November elections. House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R., Mo.) said that he planned to talk to colleagues and get reactions. Lawmakers had entered a new round of meetings shortly after 7:30 p.m. EDT Saturday, with pizzas headed to one office and a platter from sandwich shop Cosi being delivered into the House Speaker's office. By roughly 11:30 p.m., what Sen. Reid described as a "breakthrough" came in the form of an idea from Ms. Pelosi that was enough to advance talks. "She took over at the last minute," a House staffer familiar with the talks said Sunday morning. "The last hour-and-a-half she really brought things together and made it possible to reach this point." Ms. Pelosi found middle ground with other negotiators on provisions aimed at allowing the federal government to recoup money for taxpayers if the asset-purchase program isn't making money after a certain amount of time. A House leadership aide said early Sunday morning that details were not immediately available because the staff was still finalizing language, but that the general concept was to provide Congress with a mechanism that would be triggered at some point in time -- likely within five years -- that would allow lawmakers to offset some, if not all, of the bailout costs. One idea that has been floated by both conservative House Democrats and Senate Democrats has been to create a deposit insurance fund similar to the one operated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for bank accounts. A Senate aide said they were pushing provisions that would address such concerns, mainly by assessing fees on a wide swath of financial institutions over a certain asset size to create a privately-funded rescue fund to pay for any future and current bailouts. Offers and counteroffers were flowing back and forth all night. Among the offers extended by Democrats: an agreement to drop a proposal to devote 20% of potential profits to an affordable housing fund, according to a Senate staffer close to the talks. A House staffer reached after the deal announcement was made confirmed that lawmakers did decide to drop the affordable housing fund proposals, which would have potentially directed billions to state and local governments to fund housing projects. One of the biggest sticking points involved concerns that executives at troubled financial institutions would wind up benefiting from handsome pay packages as the government took on more risks. But Democrats emerging from the talks said a whole array of issues related to executive pay had been addressed, including issues involving "golden parachutes," the big pay packages that are sometimes awarded to departing executives. Mr. Dodd said that protections against golden-parachute awards had made it into the final deal, along with an insurance component sought by House Republicans as an option for the Treasury to use if necessary and requirements that Treasury is seeking to mitigate and reduce foreclosures where possible. Overall, staff said they had successfully expanded the original two-and-a-half-page Treasury proposal delivered to Congress a week ago to include significant oversight of the asset-purchase program, executive compensation restrictions, the potential for equity stakes in firms that participate in the asset-sale program, and other protections for taxpayers that will be key to attracting bipartisan support during votes this week. The summary issued by Ms. Pelosi's office said the legislation will include provisions giving Treasury the ability to work with cash-strapped homeowners whose mortgages are purchased by the federal government to refinance into a more affordable mortgage. Other foreclosure-prevention measures included in the agreement are an extension of the tax holiday for homeowners who face foreclosure, as well as a tax break for community banks who held shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The rescue plan will allow affected banks to take an immediate tax deduction on losses from investments in the two firms, which were taken over by the federal government earlier this month. Lawmakers also included provisions allowing them to keep a close eye on the Treasury program, including a bipartisan oversight board appointed by members of both parties in Congress, an inspector general to monitor Treasury decisions, and regular audits from the Government Accountability Office. Additionally, Treasury will be required to make transactions made through the troubled asset program available publicly online. Unlike the original Treasury proposal, which would have given the department legal immunity in the program, the tentative agreement reached late Saturday allows for judicial review of Treasury decisions. Some lawmakers had set a deadline of reaching a deal by the time the Asian markets open Sunday evening. In a sign of how sensitive Congress is to market reaction, lawmakers stayed in touch with outside experts during the negotiations, including talking to billionaire investor Warren Buffett. Associated Press Sen. Charles Schumer, left, Sen. Max Baucus and Sen. Jack Reed take a short break during ongoing negotiations on Capitol Hill Saturday. The bailout negotiations had taken a step forward Friday, when Senate Democrats agreed to include an insurance-based scheme as an option as part of the Wall Street bailout package in a bid to win support of House Republicans, who have been the main obstacle to reaching an agreement. After an apparent agreement was announced by lawmakers Thursday, House Republicans threw a wrench into the process by saying they would not support the deal, proposing instead their own alternative plan. That plan would be based around the idea of an industry-funded insurance pool to provide certainty to the markets, rather than a taxpayer-funded scheme.


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