First, House committee negotiators will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday morning to hammer out what may be the final deal on the bailout legislation. Then they'll take the bill to Senate Banking Committee members to try to get them to sign off. Then congressional leaders from both parties will take a look at the proposal.
The final step is for congressional leaders to take the deal to the White House for an extraordinary meeting involving President Bush, Barack Obama, John McCain and the key congressional negotiators. The White House meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m.
While there are no guarantees that the leaders will emerge with a deal in hand, a Democratic congressional source says the goal is to "draft a final bipartisan bill to be passed and signed into law."
The Democratic aide adds that "not too many unresolved issues remain" even though key negotiators like Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd say the deal isn't cooked yet.
All this is coming together rapidly, just 24 hours after some lawmakers _ mostly Republicans _ were on the verge of revolt against the bailout idea.
UPDATE: Harry Reid praises the come together moment being planned at the White House, but can't let it go without a dig at the White House and McCain, calling Bush's plan "deeply flawed" while warning McCain not to make this meeting out to be a "photo op":
"We have accepted the President’s offer to meet tomorrow. At that time we will discuss the progress we have made to improve the Administration’s deeply flawed plan to address this unprecedented crisis. We have heard Senator Obama’s vision for enhancing this plan, and have already incorporated some of those ideas. I hope to hear President Bush and Senator McCain’s plans for helping homeowners and middle-class Americans, and for gaining the support of the rank-and-file Republicans necessary to get this done. As I have said throughout, tomorrow’s meeting and future deliberations must be focused on solutions, not photo ops."