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House may vote on bailout Friday

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. House of Representatives may take up Friday the $700 billion bailout for financial markets to which the Senate added vote-attracting incentives.

The approximately $150 billion in new tax breaks, which include incentives for using renewable energy and relief to 24 million households from the alternative minimum tax, helped senators to easily pass the measure 74-25 Wednesday.

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Presidential candidates Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and John McCain, R-Ariz., voted for the bill. Nine Democrats and 16 Republicans voted against it. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., diagnosed in May with brain cancer in didn't vote.

In addition to the tax breaks, the Senate bill also included a temporary increase in the amount of bank deposits covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. from $100,000 to $250,000. The package was attached to a bill that would require insurers to treat mental health conditions more like general health problems, The New York Times reported.

House leaders from both parties said they were becoming more confident that the provisions added in the Senate would lure the votes necessary to pass the bill and send it to U.S. President George Bush.

U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad, R-Minn., who voted against the bill Monday, said he was taking a second look.

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"The inclusion of parity, tax extenders and the FDIC increases has caused me to reconsider my position," Ramstad told the Times. "All three additions have greatly improved the bill."

Democratic proponents of the bailout package told The Washington Post they didn't expect many lawmakers who supported the bailout plan Monday to switch sides Friday, despite concern among conservative Democrats about tax incentives not being offset.

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