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House passes bailout bill by large margin

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House passes bailout bill by large margin
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, shown at a Spt. 29, 2008 news conference. (UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. House of Representatives, spurred by cries that inaction was unacceptable, passed a $700 billion economic bailout bill 263-171 Friday.

The measure, already passed by the Senate, was quickly sent down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House where U.S. President George Bush signed it into law Friday afternoon.

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Bush praised the passage of the bill as a needed measure to "prevent the crisis on Wall Street from becoming a crisis in communities across our country." But, he added, "our economy continues to face serious challenges."

"Passing this legislation is only the beginning of our work" to protect U.S. citizens, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, said during debate on the measure.

Some House members who voted against the measure Monday said they reluctantly changed their votes.

Retiring Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss, noting that the vote would be his last, said he would switch his "no" vote to "yes" to "preserve those things I believe in most."

Pickering said he hoped the House vote would be remembered favorably because "we didn't do what was easy, but we did what was right."

House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio said, "The consequences of us not acting are overwhelming" because the American people "are counting on us."

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House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said he disagreed with the tax provisions added in the Senate, which passed the bill Wednesday.

"This crisis is teaching us about the dangers of fiscal recklessness, and that debt does, indeed, matter," Hoyer said. "But an emergency like this calls for the courage to compromise."

Many representatives used their time at the microphone to chide the Senate for loading the measure with earmarks and unrelated items to make it more attractive for passage.

However, House members did note that the Senate measure raised the limit for deposit insurance from $100,000 to $250,000 and extended some tax benefits and relief to 24 million households.

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