U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers wary of growing signs of the nation’s economic distress voted in favor of a $700 billion Wall Street rescue package on Friday, sending the biggest government intervention in the financial markets since the Great Depression to President George W. Bush for his signature.
The 263-171 vote was a stark reversal from Monday, when House lawmakers shocked investors and their own leaders by voting against a more narrow version of the plan to buy up distressed assets from financial institutions. That vote sent financial markets tumbling and forced the Bush administration and congressional leadership to scramble and salvage the rescue plan.
The result: a $700 billion bailout for financial firms combined with $152 billion in unrelated tax breaks and broader tools for federal regulators to deal with the growing economic crisis. The Senate passed the bill with a strong, bipartisan tally of 74-25 on Wednesday evening.
More on the vote and the bill here.
In short, it’s bad that we’re at this point, but there are signs that we’re slowly working our way toward a situation that would soon have real implications — not only in the world of big business and high finance — on so-called “Main Street,” as well.
Just check out the situation California’s in.
Does the plan address the root causes of these problems? No. But it might stop the bleeding long enough for us to do other things to repair our economy.