Financial Reform Watch

Senate to Vote Tonight on Financial Rescue

Senate leaders this morning assembled the legislative package that contains the financial rescue plan on which the Senate will vote today.  Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) only added one new provision to the Economic Stabilization and Recovery Act of 2008.  The new Section 136 amends the Federal Deposit Insurance Act and the Federal Credit Union Act to increase temporarily deposit and share insurance respectively to $250,000 from the current $100,000.  This authority only runs through December 31, 2009.
The financial rescue legislation has exploded from the 109 page bill considered by the House to a 451 page amalgam, thanks to the additions of the tax extender package – H.R. 6049, which the Senate passed on September 23rd by a vote of 93 to 2 – and the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act, H.R. 1424.  The mental health bill is the actual vehicle, and if the Senate passes the bill tonight as expected, the House will vote on the new H.R. 1424 tomorrow, most likely. 

The Senate leadership will allow debate on only one amendment to the rescue plan.  Sen. Bernie Sanders (Independent-VT) is sponsoring that amendment, which seeks to impose a ten percent surtax on all individuals earning at least $500,000 a year in order to finance part of the rescue plan.  It is highly unlikely that the Senate will adopt the Sanders amendment, but the Senate will pass the overall rescue package around 9 p.m. tonight thanks to an agreement worked out by Senate Democratic and Republican leaders yesterday. 

We will keep you posted throughout the day as we get a better sense of how the House will react to the Senate action.

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