Congress clears hotly contested bailout bill

Associated Press
The final vote tally is shown on the floor of the House of Representatives

WASHINGTON - Congress has passed complex and highly criticized legislation authorizing $700 billion in government money to shore up the nation's stressed financial industry.

The 263-171 vote by the House sends the Senate-passed version to the White House for President Bush's signature. Among many features, the measure would allow the Treasury Department to buy up bad debt from various lending institutions.

Many members of the House voted for the bill even though said it was very attractive to them and to their constituents back home. The measure had been defeated in the same chamber on Monday, sending stocks on Wall Street into a record slide.

Announcement of the vote was greeted by applause.

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