After a fairly emphatic rejection on Monday, the House of Representatives is set to take up the Paulson-Bernake bailout bill again this morning:
The fate of an emergency economic rescue plan remains uncertain this morning as the House prepares for a climatic midday vote, but both Democratic and Republican leaders say they are optimistic that they can marshal more support for the $700 billion bailout than they did last Monday.
Already, one prominent Republican opponent of the deal, John Shadegg of Arizona, has announced that he’s likely to vote “yes” when the bill comes up again, but it’s not clear that there will be enough switches to guarantee passage:
By late yesterday, however, Democratic leaders were growing increasingly skeptical that the GOP would deliver many converts. Monday’s vote was 228 to 205 — meaning House leaders need to sway at least a dozen votes to prevail.
Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.), a top GOP vote counter, said the Senate’s decision to add a package of tax breaks worth $108 billion next year for businesses and families was attracting Republican votes. “I’m very encouraged by where we are,” he said. But only about a half-dozen Republican names were circulating as likely vote-switchers, including Reps. Zach Wamp (Tenn.), John Shadegg (Ariz.), Jim Ramstad (Minn.) and Brian P. Bilbray (Calif.).
Several Republicans said they were contemplating withdrawing their support, including Rep. Spencer Bachus (Ala.), who was among the key negotiators on the bailout measure. Bachus yesterday joined a group of 23 Republicans who said they were angry that the Senate bill would extend four tax breaks that benefit special interests, including Puerto Rican rum makers and the manufacturers of children’s wooden arrows.
“The pork barrel projects that were put in this bill ought to be a wake-up call to the public and all members of Congress,” Bachus said.
To say the very least.
My guess is that this bill will not come up for a vote at all unless the Democratic and Republican leadership is certain of passage. So, stay tuned.