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US Lawmakers Reach Tentative Agreement on Financial Bailout Plan


U.S. lawmakers say they have a tentative agreement on a plan to rescue the struggling financial services industry before markets reopen on Monday.

Democrat Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, said early Sunday that the deal must be committed to paper before it is formalized. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid says they hope to have an announcement on the bailout bill later today.

In his weekly radio address Saturday, President George Bush tried to reassure taxpayers that the proposed bailout plan is in their interests.

Mr. Bush said he understands that it does not seem fair for the government to ask them to "pay for mistakes on Wall Street." But he said the failure of the financial system would mean financial hardship for many Americans.

Opinion polls show most Americans oppose the government's plan to spend up to $700 billion to buy up bad investments from troubled financial firms.

While Democrats and Republicans in the Senate mostly agree with the broad principles of the measure, Republicans in the House have firmly objected to the cost.

In the Democratic radio address, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said there must be strong oversight of where and how the bailout money is spent. He said it cannot be used to fund lavish bonuses for chief executives of financial firms that acted irresponsibly.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.