WASHINGTON, Sept 27, 2008 (AFP) - US lawmakers were back at the negotiating table today in a bid to draw up a 700-billion dollar Wall Street bailout by the time markets reopen after the weekend break.
"Hopefully by the end of ... tomorrow, we'll have a plan we can put forward, House of Representatives majority leader Steny Hoyer said on Fox News, after lawmakers debated into the early hours of Saturday.
President George W. Bush also sought to calm the wrath of many Americans who view the country's largest proposed bailout since the Great Depression as a huge handout for private companies while leaving ordinary people in the lurch.
"I know many of you listening this morning are frustrated with the situation," the president said in his weekly radio address. "You make sacrifices every day to meet your mortgage payments and keep up with your bills. When the government asks you to pay for mistakes on Wall Street, it does not seem fair."
But the president, whose popularity levels have sunk to record lows, said there was no other way to redress the world's largest economy, and promised the final price tag would be less than 700 billion dollars.
"The failure of the financial system would mean financial hardship for many of you," Bush said, warning an increasing credit squeeze would make it hard for the people to borrow money.