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House Rejects Bailout Plan

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

From NPR News, this is All Things Considered. I'm Melissa Block. The $700 billion economic bailout suffered a dramatic defeat today in the U.S. House.

Unidentified Woman: On this vote, the yays are 205, the nays are 228. The motion is not adopted. Without objection...

BLOCK: And with that, Wall Street voted as well with a massive sell-off. The Dow finished the day down nearly 780 points, the largest closing point drop in history. At the White House, President Bush tried to put the best face on the stinging defeat.

President GEORGE W. BUSH: We put forth a plan that was big because we've got a big problem. I'm going to be talking to my economic advisers after my meeting here with the president, and we'll be working with members of Congress, leaders of Congress on a way forward.

BLOCK: House Republican leader John Boehner insisted that the bailout is not dead.

Representative JOHN BOEHNER (Republican, Ohio): Regardless of what happened today, we've got - we have no choice, in my view, but to work together, to try to find a solution, to make sure that we save our economy, and we save our constituents.

BLOCK: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also came to the microphone on Capitol Hill.

Representative NANCY PELOSI (Democrat, California; Speaker of the House): By the legislation they have failed, the crisis is still with us.

BLOCK: The no vote was a bipartisan effort, and the leaders each blamed the other party for the failure. Ninety-five Democrats, many from the left, joined 133 Republicans, led by the right, in taking down the bill. Among the Democrats voting no was Lynn Woolsey of California.

Representative LYNN WOOLSEY (Democrat, California): President Bush and Secretary Paulson have been wrong from the start on just about everything. You think they'll be responsible with this money? Think again.

BLOCK: And on the Republican side, Mike Pence of Indiana helped lead his party's opposition.

Representative MIKE PENCE (Republican, Indiana): Republicans in this Congress improved this bill, but it remains, in my judgment, the largest corporate bailout in American history, forever changes the relationship between government and the financial sector, and passes the cost along to the American people, and I cannot support it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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