Panel on Friday's Rescue Bill Negotiations

Panel on Friday's Rescue Bill Negotiations

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume - September 26, 2008


BUSH: The legislative process is sometimes not very pretty. But we are going to get a package passed.

REP. ROY BLUNT, (R-MO) HOUSE MINORITY WHIP: We want to get this right, and it's more important to get it right than we get it done quickly.

REP. BARNEY FRANK, (D-MA) HOUSE FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE: Whether or not we can actually have it all signed into law, et cetera, I'm not sure. I am convinced that by Sunday we will have an agreement that people ought to understand on this bill.


HUME: And so at the end of the day, everybody seems hopeful that there will be a bill, after everybody was hopeful for a while yesterday, or claimed there was a bill.

We will talk about that now with Fred Barnes, executive editor of "The Weekly Standard," Nina Easton, Washington Bureau Chief of "Fortune" magazine, Bill Kristol, editor of "The Weekly Standard," and Juan Williams, Senior Correspondent of National Public Radio, all are FOX News contributors.

Well, where are we in this, in your judgment, Juan?

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Well, at the moment, it looks as if House Republicans are trying to get something going among themselves.

And I think that from what we're hearing is that they want to have something in place that they can act on by midnight tonight or going into tomorrow.

But they are hopeful, and my sense is, again, they're under tremendous pressure from their constituents, who don't want a deal. I'm surprised--

HUME: They don't want a deal, or don't want this deal?

WILLIAM: They don't want this deal. They are angry at Wall Street. The anger at Wall Street is palpable, and it's what is pushing the House Republicans.

The other side of this is that you get the Bush White House literally saying we got to deal because we have a sense of urgency.

HUME: Have to have a deal, you mean-not "We got a deal," but "We have to have one."

WILLIAMS: We've got to have a deal is what I'm trying to say.

HUME: Got you-Bill?

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": I think there will be a deal. It will be a pretty bad deal.

I watched Barney Frank, the great defender of Fannie and Freddie on the Hill, and Chris Dodd, the Senator from Countrywide, and Roy Blunt, the Republican House designee who is a pretty good friend of a lot of lobbyists, and it doesn't really inspire confidence in me that we will get a good piece of legislation, but I think we will get one.

NINA EASTON, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Yes, but Hank Paulson, the Republicans' plan prompted a bloodbath in the Republican Party.

The revolt over this, the middle class revolt was just astonishing. The calls were coming in 200 to 1, 300 to 1 into these members of congress's office and still are,

And there is, by the way, an election not far away.

So I think what you will end up seeing is they will find enough Republicans and Democrats who are safe, who can stitch together a package stitched together, a unit who can vote for it and move on.

But the fact is this House Republican thing that they are talking about, which is insuring mortgage-backed securities, not buying them up, it's completely different than what Paulson is talking about right now. These are two different things.

But what they need, the need to come back with something that they can take to their constituents, some kind of window dressing so enough of them can go along with it.

HUME: So your sense is that we are not going to be starting from scratch here, we will be doing window dressing, is that the idea?

EASTON: Yes. The meat piece of it, what they are really talking about--again insuring mortgage-backed securities--is completely different than the Paulson plan.

So I don't see how they're going to come to an agreement with those two completely different plans. One is a private sector approach, one is a government bailout--totally different.

FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": There is a way to do it, and Republicans would like them to do it, and that is to have a number of securities be the ones, according to Paulson, that the federal government would buy, and other securities that could be--where you could apply this insurance plan where the government would be the insurer in the case with these securities where there would be no other insurer.

Now, do the House Republicans have any hope that that is going to happen? No.

And they regard their enemy right now is--it's not Nancy Pelosi or the Democrats. It's Henry Paulson, who doesn't want to budge on any of this stuff.

And so the expectation is they'll just be able to nibble around the edges in these negotiations. And, ultimately, a bill will pass, and Republicans won't like it. House Republicans won't like it, but maybe enough will vote for it.

EASTON: But he did budge on things that the Democrats wanted, which was executive pay limits and oversight.


BARNES: The House Republicans now regard Henry Paulson as Nancy Pelosi's best friend.

WILLIAMS: But Fred is so nice to President Bush. Henry Paulson works for President Bush, so they're having trouble with a Republican White House.

BARNES: No, they aren't.

WILLIAMS: Why do you think-

BARNES: Because, look, the White House has deferred to Hank Paulson on this, and he is a very knowledgeable guy. I think he all in all has done a pretty good job.

But there are parts of this plan that House Republicans don't like, they don't expect major changes, and they thought that Paulson would budge some.

HUME: Do they expect to vote no? because if they vote no and block, there will be no deal.

BARNES: They probably won't, and particularly if it is part of a continuing resolution.

WILLIAMS: That puts it back in the hands of the Democrats. And if it is just going to be Democrats who get this through, then the Democrats will attach all kinds of Christmas ornaments to this bill that the Republicans will hate.

BARNES: They won't do that.

KRISTOL: But I was to say something. Juan made a good point. Hank Paulson works for George Bush.

Henry Paulson doesn't know anything about politics. The way they introduced the bill was ludicrous. And, frankly, the president does deserve a lot of blame for the way this has unrolled.

I think he didn't build any consensus for what they were about to do. They knew this was coming. They could have gotten at least conservative economists' input and gotten them onboard.

It has been mismanaged, I think, at every level, frankly.

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