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The bailout: The Senate takes control

The New York Times: "Senate leaders scheduled a Wednesday vote on a $700 billion financial bailout package after accepting tax breaks and a higher limit for insured bank deposits in a bid to win House approval and send legislation to President Bush by the end of the week."

NBC's Ken Strickland reports that the Senate will vote on the bailout bill this evening. The exact time of the vote is unclear, but it will most likely be after 7:00 pm ET. The vote of the bailout bill will be preceded by a series of other votes, including one on the India/US nuclear deal.  

The bill, Strick adds, will be the same bill that failed in the House Monday, plus some "sweeteners" to attract more votes from those who were planning to vote against it. Chief among them on the financial front will be a provision that raises the FDIC insurance cap from $100,000 to $250,000. Other sweeteners include a large "tax extenders" package that extends various tax breaks for various entities, especially for business and for the energy industry.

A new Washington Post/ABC poll: "Negativity about the country's financial prospects continues to lift Obama, but he now has a narrower advantage over McCain in Post-ABC polling than he did last week. Overall, the senator from Illinois holds a slim lead in the new national poll, with likely voters dividing 50 percent for Obama and 46 percent for McCain. In the last poll, Obama led by a nine-point margin. At that time, McCain advisers sharply criticized the results as being out of step with other surveys. Still, the new poll marks only the second time either of the candidates has reached 50 percent. Other national polls also indicate that Obama opened up a lead as the nation's economic situation deteriorated over the past two weeks."

The Los Angeles Times looks at how some are questioning Pelosi's tactics in managing the bailout bill. "The bill's narrow defeat was in part a tribute to political forces far beyond Pelosi's control: The deep-seated mistrust between the parties has made it increasingly difficult for the House to address major national problems that cry out for bipartisan solutions. Her GOP counterpart, Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), is considered a weak minority leader, and President Bush's leverage within the party has all but vanished. Still, Pelosi's handling of the issue provided a window onto her leadership style -- revealing the limits of her ability to win the trust of Republicans, to lean on her own rank and file, and to dispel her reputation as a polarizing figure."

The New York Times examines why majorities of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus voted against the bailout. "Mr. Becerra, Ms. Pelosi's assistant speaker, defended her Tuesday, saying that while she had never pressured him, she had done all she could to gain support for the measure. He attributed its failure to a refusal by President Bush and House Republicans to include protections for people who had gone bankrupt or were losing their homes. Representative Jesse L. Jackson Jr. of Chicago put it more starkly. 'We need to bail out the country, not the country club," Mr. Jackson said, speaking by phone Tuesday from Washington as he prepared to participate in a meeting intended to revive some version of the legislation."

Two years ago, expressing support for Ms. Pelosi's nomination as speaker, Mr. Jackson invoked Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman and Jesus. But on Tuesday he said that despite the turmoil in the markets, he could not have sold the bill to his constituents. 'I would hope greater homeowner protections would not be seen as unreasonable,' he said, 'since the foundation of the economy is homeownership, where the crisis began.'"