US Senate approves economic bailout plan

WASHINGTON, October 2, 2008 (AFP) – The US Senate on Wednesday approved a 700-billion-dollar Wall Street bailout package by a vote of 74-25 amid a widening global crisis sparked by the collapse of the US housing market. Earlier in the day, Democratic House Majority leader Steny Hoyer sounded a note of caution, appearing to indicate the bill would only be brought to a vote if it looked certain to pass.

“If there is bipartisan, majority support for the Senate package, we will likely bring it to the floor on Friday,” he said in a statement.

Hoyer raised concerns that some of his fellow Democrats who originally voted for the bailout might reject it over the Senate’s extension of expired tax breaks for businesses.

“There’s no doubt the tax package is very controversial. The Senate, in my opinion, is adding that on because they think that’s the only way they can get it passed,” Hoyer told NBC ahead of the vote.

Conservative Democrats previously rejected extending such tax breaks unless they can be offset in other areas of the budget in an attempt to curtail the growth of the deficit.

The bailout bill had been expected to encounter less resistance in the Senate than the House, partly because only a thi