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And here we go again

Posted by: Theo Francis on October 01

It’s almost as if the financial bail-out bill had passed the House on Monday, instead of collapsing 205-228. Almost.

Tonight — sometime after 7:30, we hear around 9 p.m. — the Senate is slated to take up a 451-page bill that extends a couple dozen business tax breaks, helps many individual taxpayers avoid the alternative minimum tax next year, increases deposit insurance from the FDIC to $250,000 per depositor per bank (from $100,000), and includes at least some modifications to the fair-value accounting rule that financial companies love to hate. (See the run-down in this article: The Bailout: Senate Is Next.)

Oh yeah — it also gives Treasury wide flexibility to invest up to $700 billion in the dubious mortgage-related assets that have been weighing down bank balance sheets. For all the talk of a revitalized bill, the core plan looks pretty much like the one that failed on Monday — congressional oversight, executive-comp restrictions and government equity stakes from companies that participate, an optional insurance program that conservative Republicans like but Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson doesn’t. For that matter, it’s not wildly different from the proposal that started collapsing a week ago today, after John McCain announced he would come to D.C. and wound up in a meeting that went nowhere acrimoniously with President Bush and Barack Obama on Thursday. Both candidates, along with vice presidential contender Joe Biden, announced they would return for the vote.

Meantime, a treasure-hunt of sorts is going on with the massive bill, which began life less than two weeks ago as a three-page document from Treasury. Among the oddities being turned up:

  • SEC. 503. EXEMPTION FROM EXCISE TAX FOR CERTAIN WOODEN ARROWS DESIGNED FOR USE BY CHILDREN. (Hat-tip to Dealbreaker for calling this one out.)


Update: We’re told these, and other oddities (including Sec. 325. Extension and modification of duty suspension on wool products; wool research fund; wool duty refunds.) were in the tax-extender bill passed in the Senate by big majority last week, so it’s essentially an artifact of folding the existing language into the financial-rescue legislation.

Reader Comments


October 1, 2008 03:33 PM


Section 503: Exemption from Excise Tax for “CERTAIN WOODEN ARROWS” designed for use by children. Pg. 300-301

Sec. 504 Exemption on the Exxon Valdez Lawsuit settlement Pg. 301-307

Sec. 317 Seven Year Cost Recovery Period for Motorsports Racing Tack Facility pg. 290

Sec. 308 Increase Limit on Cover Over of Rum Excise Tax to Puerto Rico & the Virgin Islands.

Section 506 “Subsection B” The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity & Addiction Relief Act of 208


October 1, 2008 08:21 PM


The world awaits a promised bailout. Are American taxpayers more knowledgeable than the White House, McCain and Obama?

Or are they suddenly just less susceptible to bad PR?

It sure looks like it.


October 2, 2008 08:53 AM

The Senate has just completed a Constitutionally illegal vote in their attempt to shove this Bailout down our throats. The Constitution requires that Bill originate in the House of Representatives, be voted on and passed, then sent to the Senate, where it may be voted on. The Senate, in their attempt side step the Constitutional requirement, they illegally are trying to originate the bill in the Senate attach it to a non related bill and pass it illegally to the House of Representatives. All hope is not lost. There are two possible cures. The House of Representatives may refuse to be a party to the illegality and vote it down or there is always the Constitutional challenge. For the time being, keep the pressure on your representatives. Emails, faxes,and phone calls. Both Obama and McCain turned their backs on VOTERS.Neither deserve your vote. Perhaps it is time for the fabled NONE OF THE ABOVE slot on the ballot.

Thank you for your interest. This blog is no longer active.


Election 2008

Washington Bureau Chief Jane Sasseen and other BusinessWeek writers cover the run-up to the Nov. 4 presidential election, paying close attention to how the candidates will handle issues such as housing, the economy, unemployment, and immigration.

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