House Passes Emergency Economic Bill; President Signs

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- President Bush has signed into law a far-reaching $700 billion bill to bail out the nation's tottering financial industry, shortly after it won final approval from Congress.

The president signed the measure at his desk in the Oval Office. Photographers were invited in to capture the moment.

The president signed the bill after returning from the Treasury Department where he thanked employees for their work on the rescue package.

The House, which on Monday rejected an earlier version of the bill and sent stocks tumbling, approved it this time by a vote of 263-to-171. Senate approval came Wednesday night.

House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio says there's a "financial crisis" that would probably get worse without congressional action. He said there could be "an economic slump like most of us have never seen."

And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the bill was needed to "begin to shape the financial stability of our country."

But even before the vote, the White House tried to dampen optimism about its immediate impact on the economy. A spokesman says it's not aimed at giving a boost to the economy, but only at preventing a crisis in the economy.

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