Leaders Cautious on Vote Count
The office of House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) injected a note of caution into predictions of how the expected Friday vote will turn out on a financial-sector rescue package. There are only two people in all of Washington that truly know how many votes there are right now for the economic stabilization package and they are [House Majority Leader] Steny Hoyer [D-Md.] and Roy Blunt. Anyone else would be speculating and that is not helpful to our effort, Antonia Ferrier, spokeswoman for Blunt, said Thursday night. While we have seen progress in garnering increased support coming into the vote, we have not stopped working to ensure the bill passes tomorrow. Earlier Thursday evening, an official familiar with vote-counting efforts said that 15 Republicans who opposed the rescue bill Monday are now hard yes in favor of it. Another five GOP Members who voted against the bill are also expected to support it on the House floor Friday, according to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The source added that at least a small handful of Democrats were expected to join the GOP Members ready to change their votes. The legislation failed Monday on a 228-205 vote. Following a House Democratic Caucus meeting Thursday night, Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said he is optimistic about his chambers chances of passing the financial bailout package on Friday, CongressNow reported. Reality is breaking through about the need for this legislation, Frank said. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) hinted tonight that Democrats were making some gains. Were working on a hard count tonight, he said. But this should be a bipartisan vote.