Frank Says Deal Possible by Sunday

Posted September 26, 2008 at 4:55pm

House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said he expects to have a deal done by Sunday, though perhaps not necessarily engrossed into law.

Frank said Friday that the bill has to be carefully written, and he wants to give the drafters adequate time to write. The House will be in session through the weekend, convening at 10 a.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

Several Republicans also are aiming for a deal by Sunday and are being warned by Democrats that Congress will be called back into session Wednesday night if no deal is reached in time.

Frank and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said they were open to adding part of the Republican proposal — an insurance program for mortgage securities — as an option but not a requirement for the Treasury secretary. But they opposed making it a substitute for the $700 billion package, saying it would not work.

Pelosi also ruled out Republican calls for a capital gains tax cut.

House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) warned against ignoring the House GOP’s market-based solutions.

“If there is no real negotiation, there won’t be a deal, and virtually all of my colleagues can go home to explain what was wrong in their mind with the deal that was being offered and how just a few additions here and there could have really made a big difference for the taxpayers,” Blunt said on CNN.

Blunt, who is representing House Republicans in meetings on the bailout, said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson needs to figure out a path forward with the tools that lawmakers “are likely to give him” rather than asking for broad, unchecked authority.

Asked if he thought Congress could reach a deal by Monday, Blunt said he wanted a “good deal” by Monday, adding, “But if we cannot make that happen, well …”

Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), a member of the working group advocating free-market principles in the bailout plan, said there is growing support for a “hybrid” package that blends insurance and taxpayer dollars.

“Right now our position is insurance,” she said. The advantage of that approach is “you can put part of it out there now and wait” to see the effects.

The idea of giving loans to financial institutions has been “sort of discarded” but is still a possibility, Granger added.