After Monday’s surprise defeat of a $700 billion plan to bail out Wall Street, lawmakers in both parties are trying to figure out what the magic formula might be to cobble together something that can be approved by the House.
Today is expected to bring more meetings on Capitol Hill, but probably not any breakthrough deals because of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.
President Bush will speak again about the situation before the markets open. He did that on Monday morning urging support for the bailout bill, but that didn’t really pay off.
I would expect him to again say that he’s fully committed to a deal and is probably going to lash the Treasury Secretary to the Dome of the Capitol until a deal is reached. Just kidding.
Democratic and Republican leaders though do want to show the markets that the Congress is still working on a deal and will work their fingers to the bone to find an agreement – you will certainly here more of that today.
But the big question is, where is the common ground?
Of the 228 lawmakers who voted against the bill on Monday, 133 were Republicans and 95 were Democrats. Most of those ‘nay’ votes were from more conservative GOP members and more liberal Democrats.
Those polar opposites don’t exactly give you the formula for a deal when you consider the ideas of a free market conservative are pretty darn different from those of a liberal who wants to target struggling homeowners for a bigger slice of the aid plan.
“The Secretary of Treasury will have no power to avoid foreclosures and keep families in their homes,” groused Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) who voted against the bill.
On the other side of the ledger are big time conservatives like Rep. Tom Feeney of Florida, who wants no part of what the Bush White House is peddling, let alone what the Democrats might offer up if they could.
“Buying troubled assets on Wall Street balance sheets does not stimulate American banks in Central Florida,” Feeney complained, arguing the Bush plan might have been “the largest leap toward socialism in my lifetime.”
Honestly, I don’t know where the middle ground is. Move one way and you lose some votes on the other side. Stay in the middle and no one is happy.
This is going to be a huge test of everyone in coming days.