After days of intense negotiations on Capitol Hill, lawmakers unveiled the bailout's final legislation late Sunday afternoon. The bill calls for Treasury to buy as much as $700 billion in troubled mortgages and other assets from financial institutions, which was what Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson proposed when he first announced the plan on Sept. 18.
But the bill, which will go to the House for a vote on Monday and to the Senate on Wednesday, contains provisions addressing some of lawmakers' concerns about the burden that the bailout could have on taxpayers.
The $700 billion would be disbursed in stages, with $250 billion made available immediately for the Treasury's use. And although experts expect Treasury to be able to sell the troubled assets for more than they bought them for, the bill says that the president must propose legislation to recoup money from the financial industry if the rescue plan results in net losses to taxpayers at the end of five years.
In addition, Treasury would be allowed to take ownership stakes in participating companies. The legislation also requires the government, as the owner of mortgage loans, to try to modify more troubled loans. There will be limits on executive compensation for participating companies, and two oversight board established to guide the program.
As history was unfolding in Washington, there was yet more drama developing. In Europe, Dutch-Belgian bank and insurance giant Fortis NV received a 11.2 billion euro ($16.4 billion) lifeline by authorities in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. And on Wall Street, a bidding war erupted for the troubled bank Wachovia between banking giants Citigroup and Wells Fargo.NEXT: Monday, Sept. 29 - Crushing defeat