A fundamental agreement to the $700 billion Wall Street financial crisis bailout has been announced by Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), who said this afternoon that Congress is prepared to give extraordinary powers to the secretary of Treasury to purchase hundreds of billions in bad debt. But at the same time, leading House Republicans reacted by saying the deal does not yet exist.
Dozen of the top negotiators from both parties and both chambers of Congress met at the Capitol for three hours this morning to hammer out the deal.
"We believe we are prepared to act expeditiously on a package," Dodd said. He described the agreement as a "set of principles" and not completed legislative language. Dodd expected the completed bill would be ready for the president's signature in a few days. Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah) said, "We have a plan that will pass the House, pass the Senate and be signed by the president, and bring certainty to the markets."
But House Republicans were still balking at the deal. Republican minority leader Rep. John A. Boehner of Ohio, reacting to Dodd's announcement, said: "There is no bipartisan deal at this time. There may be a deal among some Democrats, but House Republicans are not a part of it.”
Dodd said the compromise includes a provision that would limit excessive executive compensation. What it does not appear to have is a provision that would allow judges to restructure mortgages for homeowners facing foreclosure.