… without the help of John McCain or Barack Obama, both of whom addressed the Clinton Global Initiative this morning (McCain in New York, Obama via satellite from Florida).
Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah), the top GOP negotiator in the Senate, 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.”
Hmm, a bipartisan agreement reached by people who are more than tangentially involved in the financial crisis?
Who’d have thought?
Late Update: Notsomuch.
For their part Friday morning, lawmakers from both parties staked out their positions on a round of morning talk shows. Ahead of the anticipated resumption of negotiations later in the morning, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said the urgency of the moment meant that agreement would come within the next 24 hours.
“It will happen because it has to happen,” she said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America, according to Reuters. “I would hope that we could come to agreement in the next 24 hours.”
Separately, Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, and the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said on Friday that agreement on the deal depended on House Republicans ending their opposition and “dropping this revolt” against the plan proposed by the Bush administration, The Associated Press reported. He described the rival plan being proposed by Republicans as “an ambush.”
The White House said the financial system was under stress and a deal was needed. “Clearly our financial system is under real stress and we need to get final legislation,” said White House spokesman Tony Fratto. “The administration is continuing to work with Congress to get an agreement.”
Meanwhile, Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the senior Republican on the banking committee and a critic of the current plan, said on Friday the plan had to change before it would win support of Republicans.
In an interview on CNBC, quoted by Reuters, Mr. Shelby said, “this is not going to work.”
Thursday had begun with an agreement that Washington hoped would end the financial crisis that has gripped the nation. But it dissolved into a verbal brawl in the Cabinet Room of the White House, urgent warnings from the president and pleas from a Treasury secretary who knelt before the House speaker and appealed for her support.
“If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down,” President Bush declared as he watched the $700 billion bailout package fall apart before his eyes, according to one person in the room.