Economic Bailout Bill Passes Senate; President Praises Action

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Senate voted Wednesday night in favor of the $700 billion rescue package for financial companies.

The final tally was 74 to 25. Kansas Senators Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback both voted against it. Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama and vice presidential candidate Joe Biden all voted for it.

President Bush praised the Senate for approving the bill and called on the House to do the same.

In a statement released following Wednesday night's vote, Bush said he
believes members of both parties in the House can support the legislation. He said the American people expect and the economy
demands that the House passes the bill.

In the final vote, 40 Democrats, 33 Republicans and independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut voted ``yes.'' Nine Democrats, 15 Republicans and independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont voted
``no.'' John McCain and Barack Obama cast ``aye'' votes.

The rescue package would allow the government to spend billions of dollars to buy bad mortgage-related securities and other devalued assets held by troubled financial institutions.

Critics say the rescue plan is a giveaway for Wall Street and has little obvious direct benefit for ordinary Americans.

Democrats and Republicans teamed to approve the bill after sweetening it with tax breaks. The government would use most of the money to take over bad mortgages from tottering financial companies and investors.

The House plans to vote on it Friday. Opposition to it there is said to be softening. The House voted down a bailout plan Monday.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)