Led by Minority Leader Roy Blunt, House Republicans have agreed to return to the negotiating table on Friday to salvage legislation geared at saving the financial system in the United States.
The announcement came after a press conference from Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid explaining that while both sides agree that a serious threat to the financial system exists and needs to be resolved, Republicans have different opinions on how the legislation should be formulated.
"This thing was really headed towards a conclusion," said Reid. "This is a problem created by Republicans. We want this to be bipartisan."
Reid also suggested that the involvement of presidential politics had been detrimental to the discussions.
On Thursday, House Democrats announced that an agreement on the principles of the legislation had been reached and that a final version of the bill was at hand, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hoping for a vote Friday and some Republican senators saying the bill would pass over the weekend.
However, after a meeting with President George W. Bush on Thursday, Republican Senator Richard Shelby said an agreement had not been reached on the $700 billion bailout plan proposed by the U.S. Treasury.
"I don't think we have an agreement," Shelby told reporters. "We ought to look at alternatives" to the plan proposed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Shelby said, adding that there are a lot of different opinions on the bailout plan.
In a snap press conference on Friday morning, U.S. President George W. Bush said although there were disagreements on both sides, Republicans and Democrats acknowledge the need for a swift and substantial bailout package to be passed.
The president also said legislation would be forthcoming and promised to continue working with Congress. He took no questions.
The news comes just ahead of the first U.S. presidential debate between candidates Barack Obama and John McCain in Mississippi on Friday evening. On Thursday, McCain said he would remain in Washington until the details of the bailout package are hammered out, but changed his mind on Friday morning.
By Erik Kevin Franco
©CEP News Ltd. 2008