Friday, September 26, 2008

What's Up with the Bailout Deal?

Finding myself in Washington right now, I thought I’d fill in all y’all who might be wondering a bit about what’s going on in Washington right now with the bailout.

Yesterday and today, Congress has been sitting between “tick” and “tock” – stuck in time between the second on the clock, waiting for the gears to turn and for the next moment to start. But it hasn’t happened. We are stuck between two moments.

The negotiations are taking place between the leadership of the both chambers and Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, who chair their chambers respective financial services committees.

Neither Obama nor McCain are part of the official leadership of the Senate nor do they sit on the Senate Financial Services Committee. So, to answer your question – Yes, Virginia, that was a shameless and counterproductive political stunt by McCain.

Fortunately, the negotiators have managed to kick McCain back onto the curb and, more importantly, to keep Presidential politics out of these negotiations.

I don’t have a relationship with the leadership of the either chamber, but do have some connections to a number of so-called rank and file members.

While staying late at a fundraiser earlier this week, a number of members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) meandered in to talk shop. Listening in, it became clear that no one really knows what is going to happen or exactly when.

It does seem pretty certain that Congress will be in session on Saturday. It seems almost indisputable fact that Congress will, after breaking for Rosh Hashanah, come back Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of next week (this week was originally scheduled to be the last week in session until after the election).

So what’s the news? In one sense, the news is that there is no news.

Everyone is waiting and watching and uncertain. Rank and file House Republicans are ready to revolt. Many Democrats wanted to include a measure allowing bankruptcy judges to set monthly mortgage payments at a level so that homeowners in danger of foreclosure due to ballooning payments can make their mortgage payments – but supposedly that provision is out and many rank and file Democrats will withdraw support for a deal that doesn’t include this or a similar measure to protect homeowners who are in danger of losing their homes due to the mortgage crisis.

On a final note, a no name storm off the Carolinas has turned the air cold and the weather wet here in Washington, DC and I’m looking forward to a speedy return to the Sunshine State.

Update: The scuttlebutt is that a bailout bill will be introduced tomorrow and a vote on it will be held on Sunday.


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