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Financial rescue package passed by Senate -

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LISA MILLAR: This Thursday we go straight to the latest developments in Washington.

SENATE SPEAKER: On this vote the yays are 74 and the nays are 25. Persuant to the previous order,
the Amendment having attained 60 votes in the affirmative, the Amendment is agreed to.

LISA MILLAR: Well that's the sound of the US Senate finally voting to approve a massive rescue
plan.

It still has to go through the House of Representatives but this is a bit step forward - the
economic bailout package is seen as crucial to revitalising frozen credit markets.

Just days ago the US House of Representatives stunningly rejected an earlier version of the deal,
sending stock markets around the globe plunging.

But after getting approval from the Senate, the now revamped plan has a good chance of passing
through the House later this week.

I spoke to our Washington correspondent Kim Landers a short time ago.

Kim after the drama of two days ago when the US House of Representatives voted down the bailout,
why has it had such a fairly easy passage in the Senate?

KIM LANDERS: Well, I think there are a couple of reasons Lisa and first and foremost, this bailout
package has been completely revamped. Yes the US Government still has the power to take on the bad
assets of troubled financial firms but they have added a whole heap of sweeteners to it.

There are tax cuts for businesses in the middle class. There is increased insurance for people's
bank deposit. You used to be able to have up to $100,000 in the bank and it would be guaranteed by
the government. They are going to increase that to $250,000.

So what they have had to do in trying to get conservative people onside is that they have had to
add things to this bailout Bill.

They keep telling us that this is different to the first package that went down in a screaming heap
in the US House of Representatives.

There is another reason and that is also, that in the Senate only a third of these Senators are up
for re-election come the November elections so they are not all trying to save their political
hides unlike the US House of Representative where all of them were facing re-election and they
weren't prepared to put that re-election on the line because this package has been deeply
unpopular.

Public opinion is now starting to shift here in the United States. They have got tens of thousands
of phone calls and emails that once used to be against this package. Some of those members of the
public are now coming around.

And finally the presidential candidates themselves have also been weighing in trying to whip up
support for this package.

We heard from the Democratic White House candidate, Barack Obama today. Both Barack Obama and John
McCain came back to the Senate from the campaign trail for this vote and Barack Obama actually
addressed the Senate.

Here is a little of what he said on the Senate floor.

BARACK OBAMA: From my perspective this is what we need to do right now to prevent the possibility
of a crisis turning into a catastrophe.

It is conceivable, it is possible that if we did nothing, everything would turn out OK and there is
no doubt that there may be other plans out there that had we had two or three or six months to
develop, might be even more refined and might serve our purposes better.

But we don't have that kind of time and we can't afford to take a risk that the economy of the
United States of America and as a consequence the worldwide economy could be plunged into a very,
very deep hole.

LISA MILLAR: Now Kim, this rescue package isn't signed, sealed and delivered is it? It still has to
go back to the House of Representatives.

KIM LANDERS: It sure does and that may take a day or two. The President has indicated today that he
hopes that it will go back to the House of Representatives before the end of the week. There is now
going to be a lot of vote counting going on because as I said, it did fail by a very narrow margin
earlier in the week.

They think that all of these changes that have been made, may help get those conservative
particularly Republicans but some Democrats also, back on side.

So it is a little while before this rescue package is delivered but it will be very interesting to
see what the market response to this is tomorrow. Today the Dow Jones industrial average was very
flat here in the United States.

Really everybody is just playing a bit of a wait-and-see game. Perhaps it has got one more step to
go back through the House of Representatives before there may be a sort of an injection of
confidence once again in the American financial system.

There are some Republicans who are going to hold out no matter what. One of those is Bill Nelson.
He is a Republican Senator from Florida. Here is a little of what he said today.

BILL NELSON: This Bill rewards the banks and leaves the little person with the short end of the
stick.

This Bill sends a message to Wall Street that if you play fast and loose in the name of short-term
profits, the government will actually make up for their losses.

LISA MILLAR: Well Kim, what effect is all of this, the crisis, the drama on Capitol Hill, what
effect is it having on the presidential race itself?

KIM LANDERS: It really seems to be benefitting the Democratic candidate Barack Obama. There have
been a couple of different opinion polls out today taken since this financial upheaval on Wall
Street, since all of the midnight negotiations, backroom negotiations on Capitol Hill about this
bailout deal and these polls are showing that Barack Obama has surged to quite a lead over the
Republican John McCain.

A couple of the polls show that he has a seven point margin now. That is quite significant in some
of those polls he is hitting at least 50 per cent which he hasn't done before.

There is also one other crucial poll I should tell you about and that is that he is not only
leading in some of these national polls but he is building widening leads in key battleground
states. States like Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania.

These are states which have a history of going either Republican or Democrat. These are the states
that have a history of swinging presidential elections. They are vital stepping stones to the White
House and in these states too, Barack Obama is building a growing lead over the Republican John
McCain.

LISA MILLAR: That is Washington correspondent Kim Landers.

Well, President George W. Bush has applauded the vote and a short time ago some of the Senators
gave a press conference.

Democrat Senator Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee warns there's a lot further
to go.

CHRIS DODD: We haven't done it all here obviously. There are a lot of things to come. There is not
going to be a blossoming tomorrow afternoon or Friday with the economy.

We've got many, many difficult months ahead to get this right but none of that can happen without
the decision today and so the journey in front of us is going to be difficult and long but I think
America tonight, I hope, saw a Congress, saw a United States Senate acting in the way that our
forbearers and our founders intended it to act and I am deeply proud to have been a part of this
moment.

LISA MILLAR: Senator Chris Dodd.