US lawmaker sees bailout agreement by today

Washington, Sep 27 | Updated: Sep 28 2008, 06:03am hrs
The Bush administration and Congress anxiously revived negotiations $700 billion financial bailout, one day after the largest bank collapse in US history provided a brutal reminder of the risks of failure.

Democrats talked optimistically of agreement by the end of the weekend.

Im convinced that by tomorrow we will have an agreement that people can understand on this bill, predicted Rep Barney Frank, a key Democrat in eight days of up-and-down talks designed to stave off an economic disaster.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi added that progress is being made, although the day came and went without senior lawmakers from both parties sitting down together.

Neither she nor Frank divulged details at a late-afternoon news conference in the Capital, though there was word of one fresh Democratic concession.

Pelosi told fellow Democrats during a closed-door meeting that the idea of letting judges rewrite mortgages to help bankrupt homeowners avoid foreclosure wont be a part of the emergency legislation. That provision, pushed by several Democrats, would be a deal-breaker for Republicans whose votes are needed to pass the measure, she said, according to lawmakers at the meeting.

Democrats and Bush administration officials also said they were willing to include House Republicans idea of having the government insure distressed mortgages but only as an option, rather than a replacement for the administrations more sweeping approach.

AP