Bush bail-out plan taking shape

A $700bn (€474bn) plan to help rescue the global economy from collapse was taking shape tonight following negotiations by Democrat and Republican politicians in the United States.

Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said he was “very confident” that the US Congress could now act “expeditiously” and approve the plan following a closed door meeting on Capitol Hill.

It would then be passed to the US Senate and the president for their approval.

Details of the rescue package, which president George Bush has said is necessary to avoid "financial panic" and a "long and painful recession" in America, were not released.

However, Mr Dodd, a Democratic senator for Connecticut, said: “We are very confident that we can act expeditiously.”

Robert Bennett, a Republican senator for Utah, added that the meeting had been "very productive" and said: "I now expect we will indeed have a plan that can pass the House, pass the Senate, be signed by the president and bring a sense of certainty to this crisis."

Mr Bush increased pressure on the negotiators last night in a prime-time address to the nation, saying that the United States’ "entire economy is in danger" and "major sectors of America’s financial system are at risk of shutting down".

He said America would face a "long and painful recession" if Congress failed to act "immediately".

The president also called a meeting at the White House later today with both of his potential successors and leading politicians from both sides of the House in a bid to help solve the financial crisis.

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