Leaders Offer Few Details on Plan to Help Wall Street

Posted September 18, 2008 at 8:38pm

Congressional leaders appeared subdued when they emerged from Thursday night’s meeting with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, releasing few details of the role they believe the federal government must take in reaction to the economic trouble on Wall Street.

Several leaders, including Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), rushed past reporters and refused to say much about the meeting and what role Congress would play in the government’s response to the failure of several major banks and investments firms.

The Bush administration is considering forming an agency that would absorb the liquid assets of the failing institutions, said House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass).

Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said Paulson and other administration officials are taking the lead on the matter and will package together a comprehensive plan to deal with economic fallout, a plan that would include the government taking debt onto its books.

“I have no idea what it will look like. I can’t tell you numbers, value. This is a serious matter,” Dodd said, adding that with only one week before Congress recesses, they might stay in session longer than expected in order to put together a bill.

“There is a pretty fair amount of time, but there is no reason why we can’t be here longer. Nothing is more important than this,” he said.