Hoyer, Blunt See Growing Support in House

Posted October 1, 2008 at 8:08am

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) signaled this morning a shift of support in their chamber for a $700 billion financial rescue plan, but they warned a newly cobbled Senate version of the bill could be problematic. Speaking on NBC’s “Today,” both leaders suggested they would be engaging in talks across the aisle and within their respective parties to take the temperature on the bailout bill, which failed by a dozen votes on a first attempt Monday. The state of play has changed since then, Blunt said, after constituent calls to GOP offices started to favor a bill and lawmakers moved toward adding a new provision to increase the federal insurance cap on bank deposits. Hoyer said he believes the measure — as recrafted by the Senate on Tuesday night to be attached to a controversial tax-extender package — will likely clear the Senate when it votes this evening. But he warned that the version put out by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could be troublesome, particularly with some conservative and moderate Democrats who have insisted that the tax proposal be paid for, an issue the two chambers have been battling about. “There’s no doubt the tax package is very controversial,” Hoyer acknowledged, saying, “I’m not particularly pleased with that addition myself, quite frankly.” Asked if he believed the House could complete the bill this week, Blunt said: “I do think we can but shouldn’t set any artificial timelines.” Reid surprised lawmakers Tuesday night when he announced he had reached an agreement with Republicans to move the bailout bill, setting up a possible showdown with the House as the week goes on. His version includes the FDIC insurance cap increase, along with the tax-extender package. Senators had been reluctant to move the financial stabilization bill before the House, but after polling the rank and file, Reid decided to press ahead. Senators are expected to approve the new measure by as many as 75 votes.