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Cantor Hedges On Whether House GOP Will Accept Deal

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is still hedging his bets on whether House Republicans will back the bailout bill.

Cantor, who has led House conservatives in drafting alternative principles on the bailout, said he wasn't sure there was a deal since he hasn't seen a bill.

"We are not ready to say that a deal is done," Cantor said on CNN's Late Edition.

At this point, it sounds like House Republicans are still looking for a way to oppose the plan, even though House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) was a key player in the final phases of the negotiation last night.

Cantor seems to be skeptical that a GOP-backed mortgage insurance program will be as strong as his party wants. The mortgage insurance idea is in the agreement, but the Treasury secretary would only have to use it as an option. Cantor repeatedly said this has to be a "mandatory insurance option."

House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), also speaking on CNN, said he was "puzzled" by Cantor's hesitance in embracing the plan.

"The no. 2 guy in the House Republican hierarchy was in on the negotiations," Frank told Late Edition. "Mr. Blunt was in there. The program that Mr. Cantor talks about is in there as an option. It’s mandatory that he [the Treasury secretary] consider it, but that does not substitute for the main part of the program."

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