Countdown to Failure: How Bill Unraveled

Stunned silence grips House after last vote
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2008 8:01 PM CDT
Trader Gregory Rowe, right, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday afternoon Sept. 29, 2008.    (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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(Newser) – As members of the House of Representatives cast their ballots on the $700 billion bailout package yesterday morning—the negative votes piling up even as the market plummeted—the Los Angeles Times was blogging. Kicked off by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's final words to the House—"The alternative is nothing and that is not acceptable"—it took just over a half hour to go down to a defeat that surprised leaders of both parties.

As the negative votes piled up, frantic phone calls from Republican chiefs to GOP lawmakers managed to sway just one vote, the New York Times reports. The GOP whip said before the vote he had 75 votes; in the end he could deliver only 65. Republicans blamed a partisan speech by Speaker Nancy Pelosi—who portrayed the credit crisis as the outcome of the Republican fervor for deregulation—for some of the defections.