Senate Leaders Vow to Keep Trying

Posted September 29, 2008 at 4:35pm

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the market reaction to the House’s rejection of a Wall Street rescue package proves the need to pass a bill that can stabilize U.S. financial markets.

“We’re going to stay here until we get this job done. No action is not the answer,” McConnell said. “The markets answered the question today, if anyone had any doubts about whether no action was acceptable.”

But McConnell was vague about how he believed the Congressional impasse could be resolved, saying, “Exactly how that will be done is not clear at the moment, but we’re not going anywhere.”

Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), who served as Senate Republicans’ designated negotiator on the bailout plan, said he was determined to continue trying to come up with a plan that would shore up shaky U.S. credit markets. “I’m hopeful we can move forward and I’m certainly intend to follow the leaders’ suggestion that we just stay here and keep working,” he said.

Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Gregg said they were unlikely to try to tinker much with the bill and would keep the framework they built this weekend in place. Instead, they said they hoped the market volatility on Monday would help to move votes in the House.

“This is a good bill,” Dodd said. “It wasn’t the failure of a bill. It was a failure to understand the importance of the decision” to vote against it.

Neither ruled out tinkering around the edges of the measure, however.

The two lead Senate negotiators on the bailout package said they would be working during Rosh Hashana to figure out what to do next along with their respective leaders, but that no final action would take place until after the holiday.

Gregg cautioned that the markets “should not look at that as inaction. It just happens to be the appropriate action to take to observe a very important holiday.”