House and Senate negotiators have reached tentative agreement on a financial rescue plan after a marathon Capitol negotiating session that started Saturday afternoon and stretched into early Sunday morning.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said their “breakthrough” still had to be “committed to paper,” a process that was expected to continue through the night.
“We have something verbal,” said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.).
Republican Whip Roy Blunt, the chief negotiator for House Republicans, said he was “looking forward to what we’re going to see on paper” and was optimistic that it would be something House Republicans could support.
Said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson: “We’ve been working very hard on this and we’ve made great progress toward a deal which will work and will be effective in the marketplace and effective for all Americans . . . .We’ve still got a lot to do to finalize it, but I think we’re there.”
The plan would likely give Paulson a relatively free hand accessing the first $350 billion of the $700 billion he sought. It was not clear when the remaining $350 billion would become available, but Treasury apparently agreed that a future Congress could block its release though a joint resolution signed by the president.
The agreement would also include much greater oversight than the Bush administration had initially proposed; an opportunity for the government to take an equity share in the companies it helps, either through warrants or options to buy stock; and a provision limiting the compensation paid to executives of those companies.
To help win the support of House Republicans, the agreement also would likely include an option under which Paulson and future Treasury secretaries could choose to sell companies government-backed insurance to cover securities – thereby improving their value – rather than buy the assets as initially proposed.
A vote in the House could come as early as Monday seemed, Emanuel said.