House approves $700bn rescue plan

Friday 03 October 2008 18:26 BST

The lower house of the US Congress passed the $700bn rescue package for the nation's troubled economy today.

The approval of the Bill from the House of Representatives came as members voted on the proposals a second time after they shocked and "disappointed" world leaders by rejecting the measures on Monday.

The Senate stepped in midweek and passed the Bill first by adding more than 100 billion dollars (£56.9 billion) of so-called "sweeteners" to the proposals, piling pressure on the House to follow suit.

The Bill, which was passed by 263 votes to 171, will now go through an "enrolling" process in the US Congress - a form of housekeeping to ensure the Bill passed by the House today and the one passed by the Senate on Wednesday are the same and that it is ready for President George Bush to sign.

It will then be sent to the President's desk, where HR 1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilisation Act of 2008, will be signed into law, possibly as early as later today.

In the UK, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the global financial crisis required new ways of governing and set out new plans for a National Economic Council which will meet for the first time on Monday.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the Bill would help "shine the bright light of accountability" on the financial markets and added that the passage of the "very serious piece of legislation" was done with "an eye on the future".

She said the US had faced "terrible ramifications for everyone on Main Street" while the world was focused on Wall Street.

"We were dealt a bad hand, we made the most of it," Ms Pelosi said.

She added that she thought the Bill could have been better under different circumstances.

Democrat Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, said the "process of compromise may look messy" but added that it "significantly improved the legislation".

He said the government could now begin taking strong action to restore the flow of credit.

Democrat James Clyburn, the House majority whip, said he was hopeful the US had now "gone a long way to restoring confidence in our markets" and to restoring "credibility and confidence in our body politic".

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