Senate to Vote on Bailout Wednesday

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Looks like the Senate got sick of waiting for the House to get its act together. From Harry Reid’s office:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tonight announced a unanimous consent agreement to move forward on legislation to stabilize the economy, provide middle class tax relief, create jobs, and invest in alternative energy. Tomorrow evening, the Senate will vote on a package consisting of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, Senate-passed tax extenders, and an increase in federal coverage of bank deposits to $250,000.

“Senate Democrats and Republicans believe it is essential that we work quickly on this important legislation to restore confidence to our financial system and strengthen the economy,” Reid said. “We have worked in a bi-partisan way to do so, and it is my hope that with the improvements we have made to the Administration’s proposal, the Senate will pass this legislation tomorrow and the House of Representatives will follow suit soon thereafter. I believe that this legislative package will ensure that the needs of Main Street are not forgotten.”

I’m told the bill will likely pass the Senate even though it will have to garner 60 votes, which means the hurdle remains the House.

I’m still waiting to hear if the ‘Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008,’ is identical to the bill the House failed to pass Monday. But, I’m told that with Chris Cox’s mark-to-market changes today, the addition of the FDIC ceiling increase and the popular $100 billion tax extenders, the bill should win enough GOP votes to pass the House. “We think [it] will have substantial appeal to House Republicans,” said one GOP House leadership aide. “Boehner was consulted and gave the green light.”

The tax extenders are a hodge-podge of business tax measures that include the annual Alternative Minimum Tax fix, energy tax incentives, extensions of expiring tax cuts, including a popular R&D credit essential to many businesses, and a mental health parity measure that requires providers of health insurance to include mental health coverage. The mental health bill has passed the House before and becomes the Senate vehicle upon which everything is loaded. By constitutional mandate all tax bills must originate in the House but by attaching it to a bill that has already passed the House, that rule is circumvented and the mental health bill is so old it’s original cosponsors were Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici. Gotta love the irony that this is all on the back of keeping American workers sane.

The Senate passed the tax extenders last week 93-2 but the measure has had problems in the House because the Blue Dogs don’t like that they are only half paid for. Pelosi could lose some blue dogs with this move, but apparently will gain enough GOP votes to pass the measure. Though, Boehner has green-lighted things before, and look how that turned out…