Key members of the congressional bailout negotiations team came out of their meeting in unison at 12:20 a.m. Eastern today to tell reporters that they are close to a deal on the $700 billion Wall Street bailout proposal, and that they hope to have a formal announcement sometime Sunday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) started out by saying that they are close to deal, but "we have to get it committed to paper."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) noted that, "this evening has been extremely difficult." He said that there has been constant contact with the White House, and that "we should have an announcement sometime tomorrow."
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told reporters, "We've made great progress that will work and be effective in the marketplace. ... We have more to do to finalize it. The staffs will be working on it all night."
In a moment of humor, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass) drew chuckles when he said, "I hope no one is offended, but in a few days I won't have to speak to any of the people here."
Clearly progress has been made, but there are few details available. It is not known when it can be in the form of a formal bill, or when the House will be able to vote on the proposal. The House will consider it before the Senate.