Congressional leaders in Washington spent the day looking for ways to switch over the 13 votes needed to pass the bill by introducing provisions that will attract Republicans without alienating Democrats.
Three options emerged as most viable: one, raising the limit on insured savings, two, revising "mark-to-market" accounting rules, and extending unemployment benefits.
Raising the limit on savings insured by the government from $100,000 to $250,000 per person per bank -- a move supported by both presidential contenders Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain -- would allow lawmakers to tell constituents they voted for the bill to protect their savings.
Critics say "mark-to-market" accounting rules hurt banks by forcing them to under-value their assets.
And, extending unemployment benefits may persuade some reluctant House Democrats to support the bill, despite opposition to the bailout in general.
Lawmakers acknowledged that Washington and Wall Street had not done enough to explain how this measure will help average Americans, and tried to remedy that.
"I do believe that no one has done an adequate job of explaining exactly what this impact will be on Main Street," Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., told ABC News.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he had heard constituents' concerns that the rescue package would eat in to their retirement savings.
"I'm hearing from people, like a retired school counselor in Anderson County, who said that she can't afford to see her small retirement savings vanish," McConnell, R-Ky., said.
Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, tried to impress upon constituents that their personal retirement savings may suffer if a bill is not passed fast.
"If we break the expectation once again, this time the market will drop and there will be no coming back up. This time your 401(k), your pension plan, your retirement account will be hurt in a way that will take years to recover," Bennett said in a speech on the Senate floor.
Some lawmakers think the media's characterization of the plan as a "bailout bill" hasn't helped them win any converts among constituents.
"I think that a 'rescue plan,' which many in the media are beginning to use in talking about, is probably more in keeping with what this really is," Rep. Van Hollen told ABC News.
Regardless of how the bill has been characterized, public interest and opposition to this bill has been so high the "write your representative" feature on the House of Representatives Web site has been overwhelmed with activity.
Computer technicians Tuesday limited the number of people who could write their representative at any one time so as to prevent crashing the government-run Web site.
ABC News' Julia Hoppock and Stephanie Z. Smith contributed to this report.