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4 Oct, 2008 01:20

Bush gets his multi-billion-dollar injection

In the U.S. the $US 700-billion dollar bank rescue designed to steady the crisis-struck economy has been signed into law. This is the second version of the plan as the first one was rejected by the House of Representatives on Monday.

The Senate approved the bailout plan – an unprecedented government intervention designed to steady the crisis-hit economy – on Wednesday, when 263 Congressmen voted in support of a plan for the allocation of $US 700 billion on buying illiquid assets from the country’s banks. The plan was opposed by 171 Congressmen, but a simple majority was all it required to be accepted.

Earlier the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress voted for the ‘Paulson plan’, aiming to improve the American economy.

The bailout hearing in the House was loaded with catastrophic predictions and deadly analogies.

“It’s like loading a gun to our heads,” said Wisconsin representative Ron Kind.

Christopher Shays from Connecticut backed him: “I don’t want to play Russian roulette with taxpayers’ money”.

In less than two weeks the bailout plan has swelled from three to more than 450 pages, adding $US 150 billion in tax breaks for various industries. The amendments were added at the request of individual lawmakers, eventually turning the Treasury bill into a mish-mash of multi-million-dollar pledges.

With at least 50 lawmakers changing their mind, the bill cleared the House a comfortable margin. However, even those who voted in favour seemed to have their doubts.

It took President Bush about an hour to sign it. As much as Democrats like to criticise George W. Bush, it was them who saved the legislation and allowed the embattled president the bittersweet victory. With the congressional elections just around the corner, this is a big political gamble. The president will have to leave anyway, but House members who voted in favour of his very unpopular bill now risk following him out of the door.

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