Lawmakers Promise to Behave As Bailout Talks Resume


The Dow rose 121 points at closing today, largely due to the fact that after last night’s revolt, the Republicans seem to have reined in their emotions, taken their seats at the grown-ups’ table, and resumed discussions about a government bailout of the financial sector. (“Now that Senator McCain is safely in Mississippi, we can get back to serious work,” sniped Barney Frank today.) Congress has said it will stay in session until a deal is done, and Nevada Senator Harry Reid said there is no reason they shouldn’t produce a deal everyone is happy with before Monday — although we can think of a few.

Including, but not limited to, (a) the fact that Congress is full of stubborn old codgers who are worried about being reelected and what some polls say Americans *think* they want; that (b) there are still plenty of lawmakers who oppose any plan at all (“I oppose the bailout proposal by the Treasury,” Kansas Senator Pat Roberts said in a statement this afternoon. “Americans face an economy in crisis and it’s important Congress act responsibly to shore up America’s confidence in the financial system. Unfortunately, the Treasury proposal is flawed. It does not protect taxpayers, contains no meaningful oversight, may not solve the crisis and is seen by most Americans as rewarding greed”), and (c) economic advisors of yore keep popping out of the woodwork with whole new plans that confuse everyone even further.

But the White House and Congress are playing down all of this strife — they would never call last night’s contretemps a revolt, for one, even though everyone else did. “I would disagree that it fell apart at the White House,” Dana Perino told the Washington Post today. “I would say the meeting was very constructive — the large majority of it…” Except for the part where the Treasury secretary knelt and begged for the House Speaker’s help, maybe. But those were just growing pains, President Bush said today. “The legislative process is something never very pretty. We are going to get a package passed … Republicans and Democrats will come together and pass a substantial rescue plan.” Let’s hope so! In the meantime, stockpile your canned goods!