Passage of the revised $700 billion rescue plan for financial markets in the House remains the big unknown. House Majority Leader Steny Hoy (D-MD) said he will not call up the package Friday unless he is assured of passage, CQ Today reported.

The financial bailout plan cleared the Senate by 74-25 Wednesday. It includes the previously passed package (HR 6049) of $107 billion in extensions of tax credits, of which $17 billion are tax credits for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

By inserting the tax extender package in the rescue plan Capitol Hill leaders hope to attract more House Republicans without losing the support of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats, who want the tax credits offset by revenue raisers or spending cuts. While all the tax credits for renewable energy and energy efficiency are fully offset, the other business and personal tax credits in the bill are only partially offset.

Fueled by news of the rise in unemployment claims and drop in factory orders, as well as in anticipation of the critical House vote, the market nose-dived for the second time this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 353 points Thursday; the technology-backed Nasdaq was down 92.68 points; and the S&P 500 Index sputtered as well, falling 46.91 points. Energy stocks went along on the roller-coaster ride, losing the gains they had made the previous day.

Meanwhile, House leaders and the Bush administration Thursday were trying to drum up more support for the bailout package following the upset in the House earlier in the week, with the bill being defeated by 228-205. The opponents included 133 Republicans and 95 Democrats.

“House passage is, was and remains the larger hurdle,” said energy analysts Christine Tezak and K. Whitney Stanco of Stanford Group Co. Hoyer said that Republicans would need to come up with 100 votes to persuade the House leadership to bring up the Senate package for a vote. Only 65 Republicans voted for the rescue plan Monday.

“House leadership may yet seek some sort of changes [to the bill]. Encouragingly, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that the Senate may stay in session until the House finishes its work on the stabilization package. We think this leaves the door open for the House to send a revised bill back to the Senate, if absolutely necessary. We cannot yet guarantee that the tax extenders provisions would be part of a changed House bill,” the energy analysts said.

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