According to Rep. Brad Sherman, speaking on the House floor, the administration sought to whip House members into supporting the original bailiout by threatening not just economic collapse but — in some cases — suggesting things would get so bad we'd need martial law.
As far as I know, Rep. Sherman is not one the House's notorious loons. On the other hand, his testimony is hearsay. Plus, he's not saying that the Administration was threatening anything nefarious, rather the White House was just painting disaster scenarios — but that's bad enough, thank you.
There are some rays of light in this gloom. I gather that someone slipped into the redrafted bill the power to demand equity stakes from the banks feeding at the federal trough. That doesn't address the pricing issue, and it's just an option not a requirement, but it's something.
Then again, so far the markets seem to have shrugged off the value of this move. “$700bn and nothing doing” is much worse than “400 channels and nothing on”.