Dems Predict Economic Rescue Deal Soon

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WASHINGTON - Negotiators on Capitol Hill continue to pound out a economic rescue plan, even as stocks closed this week with mixed results as investors wait for a finalized deal.

Key Democratic leaders predicted this afternoon that a plan will be approved by Sunday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi say "progress is being made." 

Click play to watch CBN News Reporter Paul Strand's report, as seen on Newswatch, 4 p.m. EST.

Earlier Friday, President Bush called on lawmakers to "rise to the occasion."

In a positive sign, House Republicans sent second-ranking leader Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri to join the talks. They also demanded "serious consideration" for an alternate plan, involving less government intrusion and lower cost to the taxpayers than the $700 billion that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has been seeking.

Crossed Wires?

Earlier this morning, confusion reigned in Washington after congressional and administration negotiations unexpectedly fell apart late Thursday night.

"I don't believe we have an agreement," Sen. Richard Shelby said.

As President Bush and top Capitol Hill Republicans and Democrats prepared to meet at the White House to seal the rescue deal, word came House Republicans wouldn't go along.

"We tried to pin down what that plan was and we couldn't come up with it. No one seemed to know," Sen. Harry Reid said.

One campaign official for John McCain says the White House summit then devolved into a contentious shouting match.

But the House Republicans were drawing a line in the sand, insisting taxpayers shouldn't have to pony up $700 billion to save Wall Street from its own bad investments.

"We believe there's a way to do it where Wall Street pays for its own rescue, and that's what we're trying to propose here today," Rep. Paul Ryan.

The House Democrats' top negotiator blames McCain for the last second deadlock.

McCain suspended his presidential campaign to rush to Washington and rescue the rescue plan.

"The assertion that he was going to come and break the deadlock I think became problematic as it appeared that there might not be that big a deadlock and I think there might have been a little deadlock creation so it didn't look like he came for nothing," Rep. Frank said.

But House Republicans insist they just didn't want to go along with a horrible plan.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, "It is more important to get it done right, than it is to get it done quick. In something this important it shouldn't be the Paulson plan, or no plan."

A new poll shows 78 percent of Americans want Congress to pass a rescue plan, but 56 percent want a plan that's different from what the Bush administration is proposing. And 40 percent say this is the biggest financial crisis of their lifetime.

Another Giant Falls

While Washington is failing to come to an agreement, yet another bank has gone in flame - the largest ever. Washington Mutual fell under the weight of bad debts, but was quickly scooped up by J.P. Morgan.

Even as his bank fell around him, Washington Mutual employee John Graybill showed a touching amount of trust.

"Are heads gonna roll? You just don't know but we have faith in our bosses and the people upstairs," Graybill said.

Meanwhile, McCain has decided to attend tonight's debate afer all.

"He is optimistic that there has been significant progress toward a bipartisan agreement now that there is a framework for all parties to be represented in negotiations," the McCain campaign said in a statement.

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CBN News
Paul Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Sr. Washington Correspondent

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