Financial Reform Watch

Bipartisan Negotiators Hammer Out Details

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is ending the week with an increase of 138 points based on today's news that discussions over the financial rescue package are moving forward. Expectations for enactment of a package are such that key legislators are now pointing to the opening of the Asian markets on Monday, which takes place Sunday night East Coast Time, as the deadline for, at the very least, having a consensus rescue package ready for passage.

At this point, there are four key negotiators finalizing the terms of a legislative compromise: House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA), Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT), House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Judd Gregg (R-NH).

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) held a news conference earlier this afternoon declaring that Gregg has full authority to represent Senate Republicans. Gregg, who appeared with McConnell, told reporters the markets are "telling us we better do something, and they're telling us in pretty stark terms." While Gregg agreed there are still "knotty and difficult issues" to negotiate, he said they are making progress.

In contrast to last night's maneuvers by House Republicans to slow down the process, McConnell emphasized that Congress is now moving as quickly as possible. "We think it's extremely important not only to get the substance of the package right, but to do it quickly," said McConnell, "and I think everybody is trying to go forward in good faith."

On the House side, Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) reassured everyone that Blunt has full authority to represent and make decisions for the House Republicans in the ongoing negotiations. Boehner told reporters, "We need to act and we need to act quickly and protect the American taxpayer first and foremost." On his way to the negotiating session, Blunt told reporters, "We're going into these negotiations with every intention of having a real negotiation, of having a bill that House Republicans can vote for in solving this problem." The four key players are behind closed doors hammering out the legislative details as we write.

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