'Miscommunication' Delays Bailout Meeting

With all of the meetings and tension here on Capitol Hill, a simple “miscommunication” may have in fact bought staff negotiators a little more time to finish work on the bailout.

Democratic negotiators Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) emerged Friday afternoon from what was supposed to be a bipartisan, bicameral meeting on the bill, only to ask for a mulligan because of a scheduling glitch between the House and Senate.

Frank, Dodd and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) have been tapped by their respective parties to lead the negotiations.

Aides confirmed that just across the hall from Frank and Dodd, staff members from the four top congressional negotiators were meeting with Treasury Department officials to comb through the details and craft a compromise. As anyone who has been on Capitol Hill knows the staff always completes the heavy lifting before their bosses sign off.

Congressional aides said a meeting of the principal negotiators would be delayed until the staffers were finished with their work.

The aides predicted that the staff meeting would likely wrap up sometime in the “late afternoon” and the principals would meet shortly after that.

Martin Kady II contributed to this report.