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President Bush Disappointed by House Bailout Vote


President Bush says he is disappointed that the U.S. House of Representatives voted down a landmark $700 billion bailout proposal for troubled American financial institutions hit hard by the country's housing foreclosure crisis. From the White House, VOA's Michael Bowman reports.

President Bush said the massive rescue bill remains vital, as it matches the size and scope of the economic crisis facing the United States.

"It was big because we have got a big problem," said President Bush.

Mr. Bush spoke in the Oval Office less than an hour after the House of Representatives defeated the bailout package, which had been the product of days of marathon negotiations between key legislators and members of the president's economic team.

Mr. Bush said he and his advisors would continue to work with Congress, as he put it, to "address this economic situation head-on."

Later, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson spoke with reporters outside the White House, as U.S. stock markets closed with heavy losses. Paulson said the federal government will use all of the tools at its disposal to contain the fallout from the financial crisis, but noted that those resources by themselves are inadequate.

"Our toolkit is substantial, but insufficient," said Secretary Paulson. "Therefore, I will continue to work with Congressional leaders to find a way forward to pass a comprehensive plan to stabilize our financial system and protect the American people."

The bailout bill received the backing of most House Democrats but only about a third of House Republicans.

Recent weeks have seen the cascading failure of several American banks, mortgage institutions, insurance firms and investment houses amid rising foreclosures in the U.S. housing market.

The bailout package was designed to allow the federal government to purchase bad debt, thereby reducing the burden on lending institutions and - it was hoped - reverse a credit crisis that is severely affecting economic activity.