The Senate on Wednesday night passed a sweeping and controversial financial bailout similar in key ways to one rejected by the House just two days earlier.
The measure was passed by a vote of 74 to 25 after more than three hours of floor debate in the Senate. Both presidential candidates, Sens. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and John McCain, R-Arizona, voted in favor.
Like the bill the House rejected, the core of the Senate bill is the Bush administration’s plan to buy up to $700 billion of troubled assets from financial institutions.
Those assets, mostly mortgage-related, have caused a crisis of confidence in the credit markets. A major aim of the plan is to free up banks to start lending again once their balance sheets are cleared of toxic holdings.
But the Senate legislation also includes a number of new provisions aimed at Main Street.
The changes are intended to attract more votes in the House, in particular from House Republicans, two-thirds of whom voted against the bailout plan.