ANDREA SEABROOK, host:
From NPR News, it's All Things Considered. I'm Andrea Seabrook. The deal is in, and the details are finally out. Congress is finalizing the design of that $700 billion life preserver for the nation's foundering financial sector. Both presidential candidates tentatively embraced the bill. Here's Barack Obama on CBS's "Face the Nation."
(Soundbite of TV show "Face the Nation")
Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois; Democratic Presidential Nominee): Ultimately, I believe that we have to get something done.
(Soundbite of TV show "This Week")
Senator JOHN MCCAIN (Republican, Arizona; Republican Presidential Nominee): Let's get this off the table. Let's get this deal done, signed by the president, and get moving.
SEABROOK: John McCain on ABC's "This Week." The House is set to take up the bill tomorrow, the Senate later this week. NPR's Debbie Elliott has the details.
DEBBIE ELLIOTT: After sometimes frantic closed-door negotiations this weekend, congressional leaders and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson emerged to say they'd reached an accord in the wee hours this morning.
Secretary HENRY PAULSON (Treasury Department): So far, so good.
ELLIOTT: Secretary Paulson.
Secretary PAULSON: We've made great progress toward a deal which will work and will be effective in the marketplace and, you know, effective for all Americans.
ELLIOTT: But lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say, not so fast. Ohio Democrat Marcy Kaptur objects to the backroom deal making that sidestepped the normal committee process.
Representative MARCY KAPTUR (Democrat, Ohio): Don't let Congress seal this Wall Street deal. High financial crimes have been committed. Now Congress is being asked to bailout the culprits and to do so at the expense of those who elected us to guard their interests, the people of our country.
ELLIOTT: Conservative Republicans have voiced some of the strongest opposition, California Republican Darrell Issa.
Representative DARRELL ISSA (Republican, California): It does not do what the American people are asking to do, which is to protect their tax dollars. That is what we are being told not to worry about because this is an emergency. If a drowning man asks you for a lifeline, you give him a lifeline. But you don't give him your boat, and let it sail away. That's what we're being asked to do today.
ELLIOTT: But Senator Judd Gregg, a key Republican negotiator, says the importance of Congress acting to avert an economic catastrophe can't be overstated.
Senator JUDD GREGG (Republican, New Hampshire): And that's the real problem. If the credit markets melt down in Wall Street, Main Street melts down a few days later.
ELLIOTT: Gregg says the deal does protect taxpayers because the government will get an equity interest in the firms it helps and will eventually sell the mortgage debt it buys at today's fire sale prices. If the government ends up losing money, in five years the president would have to calculate the cost of the bailout and come up with a plan for Wall Street to pay for it. Congressional leaders hope that, combined with a provision that puts a lid on executive pay, will help them put the legislation over the top before tomorrow's anticipated vote in the House. Debbie Elliott, NPR News, the Capitol.
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