Congress clears hotly contested bailout bill
By JULIE HIRSHFELD DAVIS and DAVID ESPO, Associated Press Writers
1 minute ago
WASHINGTON - Congress has passed complex and highly criticized legislation authorizing $700 billion in government money to shore up the nation's stressed financial industry.
The 263-171 vote by the House sends the Senate-passed version to the White House for President Bush's signature. Among many features, the measure would allow the Treasury Department to buy up bad debt from various lending institutions.
Many members of the House voted for the bill even though some said it was not very attractive to them and to their constituents back home. The measure had been defeated in the same chamber on Monday, sending stocks on Wall Street into a record slide.
Announcement of the vote was greeted by applause.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
WASHINGTON (AP) — With the economy on the brink and elections looming, Congress approved an unprecedented $700 billion government bailout of the battered financial industry on Friday and sent it to President Bush for his certain signature.
The final vote, 263-171 in the House, capped two weeks of tumult in Congress and on Wall Street, punctuated by daily warnings that the country confronted the gravest economic crisis since the Great Depression if lawmakers failed to act.
Bush was poised to make a statement on the historic vote.