The House votes today on the nation's largest government bailout, followed by the Senate as soon as Wednesday, the Washington Post reports. The bipartisan compromise would grant Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson broad latitude to purchase assets at any price from any firm. Free-market Republicans have dropped their opposition, but the $700 billion deal still faces a tough fight from both Democrats and Republicans who view it as a rushed, ill-advised bailout of reckless financiers.
Under the compromise, Paulson would also hire the staff of a proposed Office of Financial Stability, but its head would be subject to Senate approval. The 110-page measure also creates a host of oversight agencies and a bank-funded insurance program. Taxpayer money would be doled out in two ways: auctions in which the Treasury buys up bad assets, and direct cash infusion for companies in worse shape.