The Bush administration is pushing hard for Congress to pass legislation by the end of the week that gives the Treasury Department the authority to spend up to $700 billion to buy bad mortgage-related debt to shore up the country's financial system.
Since the plan was first mentioned late last week, congressional offices have been a hive of activity.
The office of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) reports getting hundreds of calls and e-mails a day — mostly in opposition to a bailout plan. Schiff's district is home to the failed IndyMac Bank, and Southern California generally has been hit hard by high foreclosure rates.
"People are asking, 'Why are we bailing out these investors? No one's helping me. Where does it all end? Why are taxpayers going to be on the hook for this?'" Schiff said.
Lawmakers from other parts of the country with the highest foreclosure rates also have reported getting calls. A spokeswoman for Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) said callers to his offices in Washington and Florida are angry that the government is considering a bailout. A spokesman for Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) said his office is receiving similar e-mails every few minutes.
Congress is scheduled to go on recess next this week.