WASHINGTON — The federal financial bailout passed the House in its second attempt Friday and was quickly signed into law by President Bush. The measure will allow the Treasury to purchase up to $700 billion worth of assets from struggling financial institutions in an attempt to revitalize U.S. credit and lending markets.
"By coming together on this legislation, we have acted boldly to prevent the crisis on Wall Street from becoming a crisis in communities across our country," Bush said.
The original version of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's plan fell to defeat in the House on Monday. To ensure a successful vote in the Senate, Republican and Democratic Senators who were proponents of the bill added several incentives, including tax breaks, to sway conservative lawmakers. The Senate approved the measure by a wide margin and sent it back to the House with high expectations. The revised bill picked up 26 votes in the House to pass with a final tally of 263 in favor to 171 opposed.
Secretary Paulson told reporters he would act "methodically" in implementing the approved rescue plan. "The broad authorities in this legislation, when combined with existing regulatory authorities and resources, gives us the ability to protect and recapitalize our financial system as we work through the stresses in our credit markets," he said.