Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the lead negotiator for the House Democrats, said that there was no expectation of making anyone smile.
“This was never going to be a bill that was going to make people happy,” he said. “No solution to a problem can be more elegant than the problem itself. We are dealing with a very difficult problem.”
Officials, including Mr. Bush, stepped up efforts to sell the plan to the American public, which, according to opinion polls, is deeply skeptical.
“The rescue effort we’re negotiating is not aimed at Wall Street; it is aimed at your street,” Mr. Bush said in his weekly radio address. “There is now widespread agreement on the major principles. We must free up the flow of credit to consumers and businesses by reducing the risk posed by troubled assets.”
In a brief speech on the Senate floor, Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota, said: “It’s not just going to be Wall Street. The chairman of the Federal Reserve has told us if the credit lockup continues, three million to four million Americans will lose their jobs in the next six months.”