From NBC's Ken Strickland
Between Monday afternoon and today, the financial market "bailout" bill went from a down-to-the-wire failure in the House to an expected passage in the Senate.
How did Harry Reid do it?
With the economic rescue package facing an uncertain fate in the House, Reid decided to commandeer the process. The House routinely acts first on large funding bills like the bailout package, but with bipartisan support already solidified in the Senate, Reid jumped to the front of the line.
"There are a few people in the House who'd rather we did this another way," Reid said this morning on the Senate floor. "But we've tried other ways. I say to my friends in the House of Representatives, we've got to get this done."
He went on to explain that the nation's founding fathers designed Congress in a way to create friction between the two chambers. "We get a lot of stuff from the House that we don't like the way they've written it. But that's who they are," he said. "And they don't like what we send them."
"They [the House] think that they could have done a better job... and maybe they could have. But this is what we've sent them," Reid said (under the assumption the Senate passes the bill tonight.) No member of Congress is "happy about taking this dramatic and expensive step" to bail out the financial markets, he added, but time is short.
The decision to make such a power play was bipartisan. Reid was joined by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in the decision to move first. Speaking after Reid on the floor, McConnell said, "we believe we've crafted a way to go forward to get us back on track. This is the only way to get the right kind of solution for the American people."
(For you Constitutional scholars, by the way, Reid was able to grab ahold of the bill, a "revenue raiser" usually required to leave the starting gate on the House and not the Senate side of the Hill, by a procedural provision that allows the Senate to take an old House bill that it never passed, scratch out the text and drop in new language--in this case the bailout bill.)