Obama Urges Passage of Bailout

Posted October 1, 2008 at 4:48pm

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) returned to the Senate late Wednesday to urge his colleagues to back a $700 billion economic recovery package while also advising Senators to prepare for additional actions to stabilize the economy.

Obama, whose presence in the Senate has been rare — and floor speeches have been even rarer — returned to participate in the vote planned for later in the evening on the recovery bill.

With more than a dozen of his colleagues — including Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), the lone Republican in the chamber — looking on, Obama argued that Democrats and Republicans alike should vote for the bill despite its flaws. “To Democrats and Republicans who may be opposing this bill, I say step up to the plate, let’s do what’s right for the country,” Obama said.

The legislation combines the recovery package with tax extenders and is expected to pass the Senate by a comfortable margin.

After his remarks, Obama received a warm welcome from his colleagues. He embraced Sens. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) and gave Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) a fist bump.