CAPITOL HILL — The bipartisan group of nine members of the House and Senate who met Thursday for more than two hours, came to an agreement on four basic principles to include in the Wall Street bailout bill — but a big sticking point remains on the 4th of these principles: what to do about homeowners facing foreclosure.
The meeting was run by Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., chair of the Senate Banking Committee.
House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., said after the meeting that the group added "a couple of things that will make people legitimately feel better about voting for the bill."
The group broadly agreed there was a need for:
1) a panel to conduct oversight of how the vast sums of taxpayer cash are spent;
2) taxpayer protections — a way for taxpayers to receive some equity, through warrants, in the companies receiving government aid;
3) limits on executive compensation for officers of the companies receiving government aid — regarding golden parachutes, bonuses based on erroneous earnings (or "clawback"), and tax deductions for bonuses;
4) but a source tells ABC News that there was a problem resolving the issue of how to help homeowners facing foreclosure. Democrats want to re-write bankruptcy laws to enable judges to re-negotiate mortgages; Republicans do not.
A Democratic source says that Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, and Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, the No. 2 Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, advocated for the Bush administration’s argument that the bill needs to be passed as quickly and as cleanly as possible.
"I now expect we will, indeed, have a plan that can pass the House, pass the Senate, be signed by the president and bring a sense of certainty … that is still roiling the markets," said Bennett after the meeting.