Bush pleads anew for Congress to act on bailout
(AP) - President Bush scrambled Friday to bringrebellious members of his own party behind a multibillion-dollargovernment bailout of the financial system amid bitter politicalrecriminations from both Democrats and Republicans over collapsednegotiations.
Bush delivered a terse statement from outside the Oval Office ofthe White House, acknowledging that lawmakers have a right toexpress their doubts and work through disagreements, but declaringthey must "rise to the occassion" and approve a plan to avert aneconomic meltdown.
"There are disagreements over aspects of the rescue plan," hesaid, "but there is no disagreement that something substantialmust be done. We are going to get a package passed."
Earlier Friday, House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frankdeclared that an agreement depends on House Republicans "droppingthis revolt" againt the Bush-requested plan.
The Massachusetts Democrat said leading Democrats on CapitolHill were shocked by the level of divisiveness that surfaced atThursday's extraordinary White House meeting, leaving six days ofintensive efforts to agree on a bailout plan in tatters only hoursafter key congressional players of both parties had declared theywere in accord on the outlines of a $700 billion bill.
Bush decided to speak, and also was in constant contact withTreasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who was returning to talks withlawmakers, White House press secretary Dana Perino said. VicePresident Dick Cheney canceled planned travel Friday to New Mexicoand Wyoming to remain in Washington and jawbone lawmakers.
Sen. McCain has also decided to attend Friday night's debate with Sen. Obama after an earlier push to have it postponed.