US Senate approves financial bailout plan

October 2nd, 2008 - 8:58 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Oct 2 (Xinhua) The US Senate Wednesday approved a revised $700-billion financial bailout plan that would authorize the largest financial intervention by the country’s government since the Great Depression.The bailout plan was passed by a vote of 69-23. The Bush Administration and key lawmakers warned earlier that economic crisis would become a full-fledged disaster if Congress rejects the rescue plan.

Under the new bill, the federal government will be authorized to purchase the assets from banks and other financial institutions, which is expected to help free them to resume lending to businesses and consumers.

The new version approved by the Senate will raise federal deposit insurance limits to $250,000 from $100,000 per account, as suggested by the two White House hopefuls a day ago.

“This is what we need to do right now, to prevent the possibility of a crisis turning into a catastrophe,” said Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. “Let’s do what’s right for the country at this time, because the time to act is now.”

His Republican rival John McCain also urged the colleagues in the Senate to approve the plan. “If we fail to act, the gears of our economy will grind to a halt,” he said.

President George W. Bush Wednesday morning asked the Congress to take the revised bailout plan “very seriously” and approve it quickly.

“The Senate’s going to take this bill up tonight, I’m hopeful they will pass it, and then the House will have a chance to vote on it Friday morning,” Bush told reporters at the end of meeting with General David McKiernan, the top US military commander in Afghanistan.

“It’s very important for members to take this bill very seriously,” said the president, noting the legislation is needed “to stabilize the situation, so it doesn’t get worse.”

His remarks came two days after the US House of Representatives voted narrowly to reject the $700-billion financial rescue bill that the Bush administration and leading members of Congress had agreed was necessary.

“The bill is different. It has been improved and I am confident it will pass,” Bush said.

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