Washington, Sept.25 : U.S. President George W.Bush appealed to the nation Wednesday night to support a 700 billion dollar plan to avert a financial meltdown on Wall Street.
He also invited both major presidential candidates - John McCain and Barack Obama to join him and Congressional leaders at the White House on Thursday to forge a bipartisan compromise.
Warning that "a long and painful recession" could occur if Congress does not act quickly, Bush said in atelevised address to the nation that the consequences could play out in "a distressing scenario," including potential bank failures, job losses and inability for ordinary Americans to borrow money to buy cars or send their children to college.
"Fellow citizens, we must not let this happen," he said.
According to the New York Times, the extraordinary offer to bring together Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, and Senator John McCain, the Republican, just weeks before the election underscored a growing sense of urgency on the part of the administration that Congress must act to avert a far-reaching economic collapse.
It was the first time in Mr. Bush's presidency that he delivered a prime-time address devoted exclusively to the economy, and it came at a time when deep public unease about shaky financial markets has been coupled with skepticism and anger directed at a government bailout that would be the most expensive in American history.
The address capped a fast-moving and chaotic day, in Washington, on the presidential campaign trail and on Wall Street.
On Capitol Hill, resistance from rank-and-file lawmakers hearing complaints from constituents complicated delicate negotiations between Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Democratic and Republican leaders on the bailout plan.
For the first time, the administration signaled that it would be willing to make major concessions to secure Congressional approval, including limits on pay of executives whose firms seek government assistance and a plan to give taxpayers an equity stake in some of the firms so that the government can profit if the companies prosper in the future.
The White House said the meeting would occur Thursday afternoon.
On Wall Street, financial markets continued to struggle. The cost of borrowing for banks, businesses and consumers shot up and investors rushed to safe havens like Treasury bills - a reminder that credit markets, which had recovered somewhat after Mr. Paulson announced the broad outlines of the bailout plan last week, remain under severe stress, with many investors still skittish.
Congressional leaders and Treasury officials said they expected to work through the night Wednesday as their talks intensified into detailed negotiations.
A senior Democratic leadership aide said that lawmakers from both the House and Senate planned to meet at 10 a.m. on Thursday to hammer out "a final bipartisan bill to be passed and signed into law."