The Congress approved a $700 billion bailout package for U.S. banks as efforts to head off a spreading global financial crisis hung in the balance.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved the financial rescue plan by a vote of 263-171. That vote sent the measure to U.S. President George W. Bush, who quickly signed it into law, concluding two weeks of haggling in Washington that had roiled and captivated global markets.
Not so high:
The House voted Friday to extend unemployment benefits to those who have exhausted their current benefits. The vote came hours after learning that the nation's payrolls were continuing to shrink and after the House had approved a massive financial rescue plan for Wall Street.
"People are hurting with no end in sight," said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. "It is our responsibility as a Congress to stand up and help them weather these tough economic times."
But despite the strong 368-28 vote in the House, the bill's chances of becoming law this year are slim. On Thursday, Senate opponents rejected an effort to bring the legislation to the floor, possibly dooming it for the year. The Senate is in recess for the elections and it is unclear if it will reconvene after the Nov. 4 vote for a lameduck session.
The House bill would provide seven additional weeks of payments to those who have exhausted their benefits. Those in states where the unemployment rate is above 6 percent would be entitled to an additional 13 weeks above the 26 weeks of regular benefits.
You'd think the least that Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the House leadership would have been able to do was get a quid pro quo with the Senate to pass this. Especially coming on a day when the Labor Department reported that the US lost 159,000 jobs in September, and 760,000 jobs since the first of the year.
No matter, i guess. Teh economy has been saved.