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Bush Promises Deal on Bailout Proposal

U.S. President George Bush says lawmakers must move quickly to bail-out troubled financial firms that threaten to stall the U.S. economy. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, opponents of the plan criticize both its cost and government intervention in the private sector.

Facing opposition from lawmakers in his own political party, President Bush says he is confident that Republicans and Democrats will rise to the occasion and come together on a substantial rescue plan.

"There are disagreements over aspects of the rescue plan," he noted. "But there is no disagreement that something substantial must be done. The legislative process is sometimes not very pretty, but we are going to get a package passed."

President Bush wants Congress to spend as much as $700 billion to buy up mortgage-backed securities that are making banks reluctant to lend money to businesses and consumers. That lack of credit threatens to stall the U.S. economy.

Mr. Bush says the government would hold those securities until markets recover then resell them to recoup some of the taxpayer money spent on the bail-out.

That rescue plan is being held up by Republicans in the House of Representatives who say it amounts to a government take-over of private firms. They want an expanded insurance system to cover failing mortgage-backed securities.

The breakdown in talks over the deal came hours after President Bush met Thursday with congressional leaders and the presidential candidates Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain.

Democrats blame McCain for inserting presidential politics into the process after he suspended his campaign and returned to Washington for talks on the bail-out. McCain says there are legitimate concerns about the plan's price.

The breakdown in talks on the financial bailout comes as the investment bank J.P. Morgan purchased the assets of Washington Mutual Bank in the largest bank failure in American history.

Federal regulators took control of Washington Mutual as the bank faced collapse under the weight of billions of dollars of debt from selling risky sub-prime mortgages to homeowners who later defaulted.