Negotiators Return to the Table

Posted September 27, 2008 at 7:13pm

Bipartisan, bicameral talks on a Wall Street rescue plan resumed after 7 p.m. Saturday with most negotiators saying they were making progress but that several serious issues must be hammered out before they can announce a deal.

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) met separately during the dinner hour with Republicans and said he had a “very good 40 or 45 minutes” discussing some of the “sticking points,” but he said they still had several issues that needed to be resolved.

Conrad declined to say when he thought they would wrap up tonight or whether a deal could be announced this evening.

“I believe we will get this done. I believe it’s very clear that this has to be done and so it is very, very important that we work diligently to get this done,” Conrad said. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) also expressed confidence in the process.

“We’re doing well. … It’s moving,” he said. Asked whether they would reach a deal tonight, Dodd said, “We’ll just have to wait and see. It’s always possible.”

One Senate Democratic aide said several pieces of the puzzle appeared to be coming into place, including language limiting tax cuts for companies that pay executives more than $400,000, requiring some companies to give the government stock in exchange for the rescue, paying for the $700 billion plan in installments and possibly creating a stabilization fund that would require large banks to pay for part of the bailout.

The aide said those were “ideas that seem to be winning right now.”