Late-night crisis talks in Congress break up with no deal

WASHINGTON, September 26, 2008 (AFP) – Republicans stymied a late-night session of talks designed to resurrect an enormous economic bailout package but new negotiations will be held in the morning, a top Democrat said late Thursday.

Barney Frank, chairman of the House of Representatives financial services committee, said a House Republican introduced an alternative plan on a single sheet of paper — which he brandished at an impromptu press conference.

Reflecting the unease of many Republicans at the government’s 700-billion-dollar intrusion into private enterprise, the new plan called for an independent entity to dispose of bad assets, and a cut in capital gains tax.

Frank said the top Republican on his committee, Spencer Bachus, was his party’s sole representative at the late-night talks attended by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

At first, according to a bemused-sounding Frank, Bachus said he was “not empowered to negotiate” for his party and left the room. He then reappeared later with the sheet of paper, and then quit the room again.

Frank said the discussions would reconvene early Friday without Paulson, following a day of drama Thursday when a deal appeared to be nearing only to prove elusive after a