The US Senate is taking its first crack at the Wall Street bailout today. The proposal has been revised to help the middle class and is expected to pass.
The biggest change is a measure that will increase the FDIC insurance limit from $100,000 to $250,000.
"This has to help the middle class," noted Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid. "I've heard from several of my constituents that they're worried they may lose money on some of their accounts where they have over $100K."
Many on Wall Street and in the financial sector expressed their support for this effort to help the middle class among them. "It shouldn't just be about those of us who make $1 million a year or more," said investment banker Lada Doe, "because we have to take care of those who only make half that much too."
Republicans in the Senate are pushing for further help for the middle class, including a reduced tax rate on incomes between $250,000 and $750,000 a year. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky pointed to several of his campaign contributors in New York City who are struggling in that range and need help.
With passage expected in the Senate today, the real fight will take place in the House late this week or early next week. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson promised that he would "fight to the last dollar" for "all our constituents who struggle to maintain their standard of living in difficult places like Bermuda, the Bahamas, and other jurisdictions with special tax laws.