Bailout Plan Now in Hands of Congressional Panels

Posted September 20, 2008 at 10:21am

The Bush administration’s plan to stabilize financial markets was sent on Saturday to the House Financial Services and Senate Banking committees, whose leaders and staff planned to immediately begin digging into the details.

The administration proposal would authorize the Treasury Department to buy out $700 billion in mortgage-related assets from faltering financial institutions.

The proposal, drafted by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, would increase the statutory limit on public debt to $11.3 trillion and designate financial institutions as agents of the government amid the government buyout. Past increases in the public debt limit triggered bitter partisan skirmishes.

Paulson would be required to send a status report to Congress within three months of the bill’s enactment, and semiannually thereafter. Authority under the proposal would expire in two years.