By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS and DAVID ESPO
Associated Press Writers
WASHINGTON (AP) - With the economy on the brink and elections looming, Congress approved an unprecedented $700 billion government bailout of the battered financial industry on Friday and sent it to President Bush for his certain signature.
The final vote, 263-171 in the House, capped two weeks of tumult in Congress and on Wall Street, punctuated by daily warnings that the country confronted the gravest economic crisis since the Great Depression if lawmakers failed to act.
Bush was poised to make a statement on the historic vote.
"We all know that we are in the midst of a financial crisis," House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio, said shortly before casting his vote for government intervention in private capital markets that was unthinkable only a month ago.
"And we know that if we do nothing, this crisis is likely to worsen and to put us into an economic slump like most of us have never seen."
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the bill was needed to "Begin to shape the financial stability of our country and the economic security of our people."
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)