WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush voiced disappointment Monday at the House vote rejecting his administration's rescue plan for the nation's financial industry. "We've put forth a plan that was big because we've got a big problem," the president said as he vowed to keep pressing on in search of a way to help the U.S. economy.
A grim-looking Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson walked into the West Wing of the White House just before the president spoke.
"We need to put something back together that works," Paulson said. "We need it as soon as possible."
President Bush was scheduled to make a statement on the rescue plan Tuesday morning, the White House said.
"I was disappointed in the vote with the United States Congress on the economic rescue plan," Bush told reporters during a picture-taking session with the president of Ukraine. "We'll be working with members of Congress, leaders of Congress, on the way forward."
Bush spoke after the House voted 228-205 to reject the $700 billion bailout plan that had been backed by congressional leaders of both parties and by both presidential candidates.
"Our strategy is to continue to address this economic situation head on. We'll be working to develop a strategy that will enable us to continue to move forward," Bush said.
After the president's meeting, Paulson said he was "committed to work with my fellow regulators to use all the tools available to protect our financial system and our economy. Our toolkit is substantial but it is insufficient."
Paulson said the U.S. banking industry was holding up well in face of difficult circumstances.
"We've got much work to do, and this is much too important to simply let fail," he said.
Joining the president and Paulson in the White House meeting after the vote were Vice President Dick Cheney and Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, the U.S. central bank.
Bernanke gave his views on the current state of the economy and how things would look in the coming days, said White House spokesman Tony Fratto, who was at the meeting.
Fratto said Paulson and White House officials would be talking with leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate about getting legislation back on track and also discussing other options for stabilizing financial markets.
The financial crisis that existed before the House vote continues and already has affected consumers and small businesses as "other banks continue to face stress," Fratto said.
Of the almost 780-point decline in the Dow Jones industrials on Monday, the largest point drop in history, Fratto said, "Nobody wants to see the markets fall like this. We don't want to see that."