— What follows is a timeline of the events on Capitol Hill from last
night to this afternoon as the bailout negotiations to tentative deal
took place from our House producer Mike Viqueira.
From NBC's Mike Viqueira
SATURDAY, 9:30 PM
Negotiations continue on the House side of the Capitol this evening.
This is a full-on negotiation, with breakout groups and members and
staff shuttling in and between the suites of Pelosi and Boehner, situated on opposite sides of statuary hall.
Sen. Conrad just took a meandering walk around the Capitol's
second floor, followed by a swarm of reporters. Not much to report,
although he did say that outside experts, including Warren Buffet, were being consulted by telephone. He says new proposals were being considered, debated, and vetted by the group.
Conrad was visibly tired, and repeatedly described the work as tedious.
He would give no indication of when it might be finished, asserting
that deadlines were counterproductive. He described the atmosphere
inside the room as good, without an undue amount of argument.
At this point there is no way to know how long this will go on. If
Pelosi gets her wish, and there is to be a bill on the House floor by
Sunday night or Monday morning, it appears that we are in for a very
late, wee hours kind of affair here this evening. That's because even
if there is a deal made at some point before dawn, it still must be put
into legislative language and bill form. That takes time.
Got a background briefing from an administration official with general details on agreement. But first, be mindful:
-- The deal will be on the House floor MOST LIKELY ON MONDAY MORNING,
if everything goes as hoped. They want to put it out on the Internet
for a while. They wanted it on the Web for 24 hours, but with the
writing of it overnight and into the morning and the fact that they
have a noon Monday deadline, so members can get back for Rosh Hashanah
means it might be less than the full 24. Bottom line. Vote on House
floor most likely Monday morning.
-- Remember, we heard Blunt say that "we need to look at it on paper...and we will be talking to our colleagues." We can assume that GOP leadership will now push their members to support it, but there will remain a hard core who will not. Nevermind them. They might end up being 50 die hards. As long as Boehner and Blunt can get a significant number of house GOP and support it themselves, it will happen. Blunt would not have come out there if he didn't think he could sell it.
-- The thing that Pelosi came up in the last hour of negotiations may be a little overblown by Dems, if you listen to Republican version: she merely proposed that the transaction fees to cover shortfalls on the assets that the government takes over -- the idea that was floated earlier in the evening -- not be set as law, but instead, have the secretary look at any shortfall after five years and then decide whether or not to PROPOSE a fee on that company.
Details of the plan (as described by a senior administration official):
-- It is a $700 billion figure. It comes in two tranches: $350 billion and another $350 billion. The second tranche would require presidential notification of Congress, which would then have 15 days to hold a vote to disapprove of the additional money -- even if congress were to vote to disapprove, the president could still veto that. Congress could then vote to override.
-- The official thinks that the program can be up in running in a matter of months, if not weeks.
-- The government can acquire bad assets though auction or a "one-off" acquisition. In either case, the taxpayer would have warrants. Any equity position the government holds is non-voting. And there is no proxy access to boards.
-- There are limits on executive pay. Those limits are more stringent for "bad actors" whose companies have failed, etc.
-- The bill mandates the creation of an insurance program for "any troubled asset," not just MBS (the bill does not require the secretary to actually use the program). This is the key component of the House Republican plan.
-- The housing fund that Republicans despised is out
-- The bankruptcy "cram down" provision favored by Barney Frank is out.
SUNDAY, 12:41 PM
Here are the moving parts on the Hill today:
-- The House comes in at 1pm for inconsequential legislation.
-- 1:30 or so: GOP meets in conference, closed door.
-- 2 pm Senate Republican conference call.
-- 3ish...Senate Republican presser, featuring Judd Gregg
-- 4ish and very soft: Congressional leaders presser
Also: At some point, House conservatives will closed-door caucus. And at some point House Dems will caucus.
As you may know, the most likely scenario, if things do not go South during the course of this day, is that the bill will be on the House floor late morning or noonish tomorrow – Monday. It is also going to be posted on the Financial Services Committee Web site when there is sign off on the formalized bill language. That has not happened yet.
SUNDAY, 1:26 PM
The house GOP will hold their closed door meeting later this afternoon, likely to begin sometime in the 4 hour. It is unclear what this means for joint Congressional presser timing.
SUNDAY, 2:22 PM
NBC News confirms that the Senate is not likely to vote until Wednesday. We are told that it is a schedule issue, not a substance issue. Here's why: the House is not expected to vote until late morning tomorrow. If it passes, it goes to the senate.
The senate being the senate, if any one of the 100 senators doesn't want something to sail through, that senator and his like-minded colleagues can gum things up. So if Jim Bunning, for example, doesn't want to bring it to the floor, wave hands over it on Monday after it comes from the House, and bada bing bada boom it passes, then that isn't what is going to happen.
Given the fact that Jewish members must be home by sundown on Monday night, and given the fact that this isn't going to be passed by the Senate without at least some debate, that means that it waits until Wednesday at the earliest. The Senate is out Tuesday for the holiday.
But remember: the Senate isn't where the problem is likely to be, if there is one. Listen closely to Gregg at his presser and see if he thinks it has substantial Republican support in the Senate -- it does.
SUNDAY, 3:32 PM
Things are lurching forward here, but the schedule is in flux... House Dems will caucus behind closed doors at 5. It usually lasts a little more than an hour. This one might be longer.
Republicans will do the same likely at same time. Same drill. Importance: If we see Boehner and Blunt come out and endorse the deal, however reluctantly, then we can be more assured -- but not guaranteed -- of a vote going forward and that it will pass the House on Monday, which is still the most likely scenario.
Barney Frank just told me in the hall that the writing of the bill is almost done. It will be posted on the Web when it is done, he said.
An appearance by Congressional leaders may or may not happen, depending on how late it gets and other factors. In any event, it is possible that you won't see Boehner or Blunt with them when and if they do show.
Also, from NBC's Tom Costello...
From Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH): He expects the House AND THE SENATE to each vote on the emergency bailout MONDAY. He says he understands the need for members to get home for the Jewish Holiday, but this is critical to the country.
"The downside of NOT doing this is such a catastrophic scenario that we don't even want to think about it!"