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Kohl, Feingold not tipping hand on Senate bailout vote tonight

The U.S. Senate will vote tonight (Wednesday) on the latest compromise to rescue the financial services industry.

Leaders of both parties announced a new agreement Tuesday night to add major tax cuts, with the goal of getting 12 more House votes needed to pass the measure.

Basically, the crux of the rescue plan will be added to a tax bill senators passed 93-2 last week, when both Wisconsin members voted yes.

There's no word yet on what Democrats U.S. Sens. Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold think about the new bill.

It would exempt 20 million middle class families from the alternative minimum tax.

There's also 80 billion to continue expiring tax breaks, new tax incentives for renewable energy and more disaster aid for storm victims in the Midwest and South.

Notice the word "bailout" is not used anymore. Some Wisconsin financial experts say it's not an accurate term, anyway.

Kenneth Brusda of North Star Asset Management in Menasha says the plan basically lets financial houses take troubled assets off their books. The government would buy them for pennies on the dollar, and sell them later for much more when the market recovers.

Kurt Bauer of the Wisconsin Bankers Association says lots of folks don't understand what Washington is trying to do - shore up the credit markets needed to keep the economy from collapsing.

Most major media are now calling the plan a "rescue," but it remains to be seen if the voters will view it that way.

When the $700 billion plan failed in the House on Monday, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Janesville, said many members wanted to vote yes, but they were afraid voters would boot them out of office in 34 days.