A bipartisan group of Senate and House leaders just held a press conference to announce that they have reached agreement on bailout legislation. Democrats Chris Dodd (the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee) and Barney Frank (the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee) and Republicans Bob Bennett (the ranking member on Dodd’s committee) and Spencer Bachus (the ranking member on Frank’s committee) said that they their compromise plan should easily clear the House and Senate.
This would seem to signal an end to John McCain’s headline-grabbing suspension of his candidacy. McCain had been absent as congressional leaders worked on a compromise plan all week and—as of Tuesday—hadn’t even read Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s three-page bailout proposal.
McCain and Barack Obama are scheduled to meet with President Bush at the White House later today. At the press conference, Frank noted that he would be attending as well, but that—with this agreement in hand—his message would be: "There’s no deadlock to break."
There is speculation now that the House could vote on the compromise plan as early as tonight, and that the Senate could vote either late Friday or on Saturday. It’s possible that the Senate vote could conflict with tomorrow night’s presidential debate, although Senate leaders could probably find a way to accommodate McCain and Obama, if they want to vote on the package. But the candidates’ votes will probably be symbolic; the news of a deal strongly suggests that their will be wide support from both parties for passage of the plan.