[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/02/art.stenyhoyer.jpg caption="House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, speaks to the press in his office on the financial market turmoil on Capitol Hill, Wednesday."]Deirdre Walsh
CNN Capitol Hill Producer
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md, told reporters "on our side I think we're not losing substantial votes."
He said Republicans are still trying to add votes and "we're now assessing where members are."
He was clearly still unhappy about the process of having the Senate force this package on the House, but blamed Senate Republicans. "I deeply regret that the Senate refused to pass this. This was largely, I understand from Senator Reid, the refusal by Republicans to pay for tax cuts."
Hoyer expected "minimal" losses from conservative House Democrats known as "blue dogs." Hoyer pointed out that 25 of the 44 blue dogs voted for the bailout on Monday and do have concerns about the tax piece. "They don't like and I don't like the fact that the Senate jammed us, and put it on this bill in the end." But Hoyer added, he believes these blue dogs who already voted for it will still support the package.
Hoyer backed away from his statement yesterday that 100 Republican votes are needed (65 Rs voted for it on Mon). "We need a significantly greater number of Republicans. In other words, I don't want to put an arbitrary number on it." But Hoyer added quickly, "we may lose people and I've informed the Republican leadership that that may be the case."
He reiterated his pledge from yesterday about not proceeding before they have the votes. "I'm going to be pretty confident that we have sufficient votes to pass this before we put this on the floor."
Asked about the odds of the House taking up the bailout bill tonight, Hoyer said "I don't think very large." [note – House Rules Committee will meet at 4pm to set rule for debate and vote for Friday consideration on the House floor so this is still heading for Friday vote]
On calls to his office -before the vote on Monday it was 6-1 against the bailout. Since Monday he said the calls have shifted to 3-1 against. “I think people saw Monday it had a direct impact on them.”
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