Image by crRisSrOcCa via FlickrFriday, September 26th, 2008
Late Thursday night, around 1030 local time, the small group of legislators who had met at the White House to finalize the deal for the Wall Street bailout simply gave up.
With Barack Obama at one end of a conference table and John McCain at the opposite, senior members of Congress couldn’t decide on even the most basic elements of a plan. Eyewitness accounts describe the process deteriorating into ‘a verbal brawl’.
As of the publishing hour, Treasury secretary Paulson and some senior members of Congress are still trying to put together something to ‘ward off a Friday morning bloodbath in the markets.’
From the NY Times:
The day began with an agreement that Washington hoped would end the financial crisis that has gripped the nation. It dissolved into a verbal brawl in the Cabinet Room of the White House, urgent warnings from the president and pleas from a Treasury secretary who knelt before the House speaker and appealed for her support.
“If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down,” President Bush declared Thursday as he watched the $700 billion bailout package fall apart before his eyes, according to one person in the room.
It was an implosion that spilled out from behind closed doors into public view in a way rarely seen in Washington.
In the Roosevelt Room after the session, the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., literally bent down on one knee as he pleaded with Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, not to “blow it up” by withdrawing her party’s support for the package over what Ms. Pelosi derided as a Republican betrayal.
“I didn’t know you were Catholic,” Ms. Pelosi said, a wry reference to Mr. Paulson’s kneeling, according to someone who observed the exchange. She went on: “It’s not me blowing this up, it’s the Republicans.”
Mr. Paulson sighed. “I know. I know.”
For the record, I am against the core premise of the Paulson plan. It does nothing to address the underlying problems of this mess. I believe that if that much money is to be funneled at the problem, it should be used to support the underlying assets, thereby improving the financial condition of these ‘troubled’ firms.
I am Jon. Go check your portfolio.