Bailout bill vote fails
"In a moment of historic drama in the Capitol and on Wall Street, the House of Representatives voted on Monday to reject a $700 billion rescue of the financial industry.
"The vote against the measure was 228 to 205. Supporters vowed to try to bring the rescue package up for consideration again as soon as possible.
"Stock markets plunged sharply at midday as it appeared that the measure would go down to defeat.
"House leaders pushing for the package kept the voting period open for some 40 minutes past the allotted time, trying to convert “no” votes to “yes” votes by pointing to damage being done to the markets, but to no avail.
"Supporters of the bill had argued that it was necessary to avoid a collapse of the economic system, a calamity that would drag down not just Wall Street investment houses but possibly the savings and portfolios of millions of Americans. Opponents said the bill was cobbled together in too much haste and might amount to throwing good money from taxpayers after bad investments from Wall Street gamblers.
"Should the measure somehow clear the House on a second try, the Senate is expected to vote later in the week. The Jewish holidays and potential procedural obstacles made a vote before Wednesday virtually impossible, but Senate vote-counters predicted that there was enough support in the chamber for the measure to pass. President Bush has urged passage and spent much of the morning telephoning wavering Republicans to plead for their support."