Democratic leaders ask for a smaller bailout

By: AP
By: AP

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democratic officials say leaders are asking the Bush administration to dramatically cut the size of the $700 billion bailout of the financial industry and then come back to Congress later if they need more.

Under the plan, which is still emerging, Congress would approve a fraction of what President Bush is asking for - perhaps $150 billion or $200 billion - to allow the government to begin rescuing tottering financial companies.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has privately suggested the idea to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson - that's according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are private.

Sen. Chuck Schumer pressed Paulson on the idea Tuesday and was told it would be a "grave mistake."


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