Daily Video

October 6, 2008

Congress Votes Yes on Financial Bailout, But Economy Worsens

A $700 billion financial rescue plan won final approval in Congress Friday when the U.S. House approved a revised version of a bill it rejected earlier in the week.

The controversial measure passed easily, 263-171. President Bush quickly signed the bill, saying lawmakers acted boldly in the face of public doubts.

Treasury Secretary Paulson promised to get moving on buying bad debts from banks. But the bad economic news continues: job losses in September were worse than expected. The Labor Department said the economy has lost jobs nine months in a row, for a total of 760,000 so far this year.

This report looks at the vote in the House and what’s ahead for the U.S. economy.

Quotes

“Now we face a very real crisis. The credit markets are shutting down. People will not be able to get car loans, loans for store inventories. There will be thousands of bank failures, millions of job losses. This is the only bill that can be agreed upon now. We’re not sure this bill will solve the crisis, but it might.” – Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York

“Monday, I cast a blue-collar vote for the American people, shook the foundations of Wall Street, demanding more accountability. But today, I’m going to cast a red-, white- and blue-collar vote.” – Republican Rep. Zach Wamp of Tennessee

“I talked with Senator Barack Obama, who made it very clear to me that the cost and the price of inaction was too great to the nation. And he assured me of my chief concerns regarding basic individuals who more often than not during the course of this debate have been nameless and faceless.” – Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. of Illinois

Warm Up Questions

1. What is happening to the United States economy right now?

2. What are some differences between Republican and Democratic economic policy?

3. What does Congress do? What role does it play in American society?

Discussion Questions

1. What do you think about the law Congress passed on Friday?

2. What did you think of what the lawmakers said? Did this report give you a better sense of how members of Congress think and vote? Did it give you more confidence in our government or less?

3. Do you understand how the rescue package works and what it will attempt to do? If not, write up a list of questions, divide them up amongst the class, have each group research a question and write an answer. Share the answers with the rest of the class.

Additional Resources

Transcript of this report

Analysis of the Treasury bailout

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