President Bush's bailout plan, possibly the largest in US history, calls for unregulated and unprecedented powers for one man: Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. Paulson could spend, without oversight, up to $700 billion to purchase toxic securities from financial firms.
Congressional Democrats and Republicans have reservations, and both John McCain and Barack Obama want more oversight than Bush proposed. House Republicans called an emergency meeting this afternoon to finalize their alternative to Bush's plan. Their biggest concerns include more protections for taxpayers such as returning profits from the bailout program to the Treasury.
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy said: "We will do something this week — but if we learned anything from right after 9/11, it's that the biggest mistake is to pass anything they ask for just because it's an emergency." Democrats want more specific homeowner relief, Treasury accountability to Congress, and limits on corporate executive compensation. Despite these hesitations, the Bush Administration warns that markets could be devastated if Congress doesn't reach an agreement quickly.