Capitol Hill Soap Opera: “As the Stomach Turns”

We have a little back-and-forth going on in the breaking news department. First we get this:

Key lawmakers have reported an agreement in principle on a bailout of the financial industry designed to avert a deeper economic crisis.

Emerging from a two-hour negotiating session, Sen. Chris Dodd said, “We are very confident that we can act expeditiously.”

Sen. Bob Bennett, a Utah Republican, told reporters: “I now expect that we will indeed hvae a plan that can pass the House, pass the Senate (and) be signed by the president.” Dodd is a Connecticut Democrat who heads the Senate Banking Committee.

Then we get this:

But House GOP leaders said there is no deal.

“As I told our Conference this morning, there is no bipartisan deal at this time,” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said. “There may be a deal among some Democrats, but House Republicans are not a part of it.”

Just to add a little fun to the mix, there’s this:

The White House said Thursday morning that President Bush and GOP nominee John McCain might be on a different page about how close the administration and Congress are to reaching a deal on a Wall Street bailout.

“It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the administration’s proposal to meet the crisis,” McCain said in New York City. “I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.”

And just to round it all out:

House and Senate leaders are discussing the possibility of attaching the Wall Street bailout to legislation to fund the federal government through March, GOP and Democratic aides said Thursday.

Aides cautioned that no decisions have been made and that the situation remains fluid.

Because voting against a combination bill would result in a government shutdown, the idea of attaching the bailout bill to the continuing resolution is appealing to leaders, aides said.

Additionally, it would give Congress a way around the requirement that all spending legislation originate in the House: Since the CR has passed the House, the Senate could simply take up the CR, add the bailout language, return it to the House for an up-or-down vote and then send it to President Bush.

Of course that little technical glitch they’re talking about is just the Constitution. No biggie – always a way around that.

Not that Harry Reid cares – he’s not going to schedule a vote on it on Friday anyway – no matter how pressing the need:

Harry Reid says he’s not scheduling any votes in the Senate for Friday.

The reason: He says he wants to give John McCain “no excuse” for missing Friday night’s presidential debate.

Oh, and in case all of that’s not enough, let’s see what Gallup has to say:

John McCain has gained ground and is now tied with Barack Obama among registered voters in the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update for Sept. 22-24, with each candidate getting 46% support.

Heh … “may you live in interesting times”.

[Crossposted at QandO]

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