Well before the markets opened, the Fed announced that it would flood the system with even more cash, making $30 billion available
to the central banks of Australia, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
Back in Washington, the debate about the Bush administration's proposed $700 billion bailout raged on, this time in front of the House Financial Services Committee
, which grilled Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke over the plan's details.
Progress was reported toward an agreement. Paulson agreed that the bill should curb executive compensation at firms that sign up for the rescue plan, one of the Democrats' key demands. But he remained opposed to allowing bankruptcy judges to change mortgage terms because it's "inconsistent with what we're trying to do, which is increase the flow of funds."
Still under discussion was whether the government should get an equity stake in companies that participate in the plan, and whether the government will encourage foreclosure prevention for the troubled loans it purchases.
Members of Congress demanded to know how they could justify a bailout to their enraged constituents.
President Bush made a televised speech
Wednesday night to make the case for his plan. "We are in the midst of a serious financial crisis," he said. "Our entire economy is in danger."NEXT: Thursday, Sept. 25 - Deal, or no deal