Page last updated at 22:19 GMT, Wednesday, 24 September 2008 23:19 UK

In quotes: Bail-out debate

Doubts are growing over whether a proposed $700bn (378bn) bail-out of financial markets can be passed by Congress before a deadline set for this weekend.

In an attempt to win-over politicians, senior figures have been making a case for the plan, while others have expressed serious reservations.

Here is a snapshot of what key figures and observers have been saying:

WARREN BUFFETT, BILLIONAIRE INVESTOR

Warren Buffett

We were very, very close to a system that was totally dysfunctional, and would have not only gummed up the financial markets but gummed up the economy in a way that would take us years and years to repair.

Its not like Pearl Harbour where you could look at what happened with your own eyes and decide you had to do something that day. This is sort of an economic Pearl Harbour were going through.

BEN BERNANKE, US FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN

Ben Bernanke

Action by the Congress is urgently required to stabilize the situation and avert what otherwise could be very serious consequences for our financial markets and for our economy.

The intensification of financial stress in recent weeks, which will make lenders still more cautious about extending credit to households and business, could prove a significant further drag on growth.

JOHN MCCAIN, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.

We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved.

BARACK OBAMA, DEMOCRAT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

It's my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who in approximately 40 days will be responsible for dealing with this mess.

What I think is important though is that we don't suddenly infuse Capitol Hill with presidential politics at a time when we're in the middle of some very delicate and difficult negotiations.

HENRY PAULSON, US TREASURY SECRETARY

Henry Paulson (L) and Ben Bernanke

I understand the view that I have heard from many of you on both sides of the aisle, urging that the taxpayer should share in the benefits of this plan to our financial system.

Let me make clear - this entire proposal is about benefiting the American people, because today's fragile financial system puts their economic well-being at risk.

The American people are angry about executive compensation and rightfully so. Many of you cite this as a serious problem and I agree. We must find a way to address this in the legislation, but without undermining the effectiveness of this programme.

LLOYD DOGATT, DEMOCRAT REPRESENTATIVE

The people asked to clean up all the broken furniture, they didn't even get invited to the party.

They're very angry they're being asked to contribute to this bailout.

GEORGE SOROS, INVESTOR & PHILANTHROPIST

George Soros

Now that the crisis has been unleashed a large-scale rescue package is probably indispensable to bring it under control.

Rebuilding the depleted balance sheets of the banking system is the right way to go. Not every bank deserves to be saved, but the experts at the Federal Reserve, with proper supervision, can be counted on to make the right judgments

JACK ALBIN, HARRIS PRIVATE BANK, CHICAGO

The resistance we're seeing in Washington to the bail-out bill is understandable, but frightening at the same time.

The longer this drags on and the more bickering we see, the more frightening it is.

THE REPUBLICAN STUDY COMMITTEE

The Treasury plan fundamentally alters the nation's free-market system in that it broadly socializes... money-losing mortgage assets and places the US on a slippery slope whereby profits will also be nationalized.





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