Economic heads face fire from Congress on bailout

Members of Congress grilled the Bush administration?s economic experts on their $700 billion financial industry bailout plan Tuesday as questions grow as to just how or if such a bailout would work.

News 12 Staff

Sep 24, 2008, 3:52 PM

Updated 5,780 days ago

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Members of Congress grilled the Bush administration?s economic experts on their $700 billion financial industry bailout plan Tuesday as questions grow as to just how or if such a bailout would work.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson took questions from the members of the Senate Banking Committee, many of whom were skeptical the plan would do anything for ordinary taxpayers. The administration is sounding the alarm on the urgency of passing the measure, saying the United States is just days away from an economic meltdown.
The legislation would allow the government to buy bad mortgages and other troubled assets held by endangered banks and financial institutions.
?We need oversight, we need protection, we need transparency,? Secretary Paulson said Tuesday. Bernanke warned the nation risks a recession if the government does not act soon.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) called the administration's bailout proposal unacceptable after five and a half hours of hearings. He, however, hopes to pass a measure soon. "But it is not going to be a blank check or a simple signing on to a bill that sends a blank check to this secretary or any other secretary," Dodd said.
Long Islanders say they are just as torn about what?s best for the economy.
?I don't think we have any other choice, we're going to have to do it,? said Jerilyn Ganz, of Jericho. ?But, I think it?s very important that we have oversight.?
Many in Congress and on Long Island also take issue with the multimillion dollar payouts Wall Street executives could get as part of the bailout. The CEO of the now-bankrupt Lehman Brothers could be eligible to receive $9 million to $11 million in stock holdings and Merrill Lynch?s CEO may share a $200 million payout with two other top executives.
Lawmakers are pushing for a measure to limit the payouts of CEOs of the financial entities in question. Questioning will continue on Capital Hill Wednesday. The Bush administration said the bailout needs to be approved by the end of the week.
Click for more on how much CEOs could walk away with
AP wire reports contributed to this article.


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