Bernanke, Paulson Put Fear of God Into Pols

Of meeting with officials, lawmaker says: 'We have never heard language like this'
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2008 4:18 PM CDT
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson talks with reporters after meeting with congressional leaders last night on the economic crisis. At right are Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Lawmakers were astounded at the possible fallout of the crisis on Wall Street outlined last night by Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the New York Times reports. “When you listened to him describe it you gulped,” New York Sen. Charles Schumer said of the meeting between a select group of lawmakers and the two officials.

Sen. Chris Dodd said the assembled group was told, “we’re literally maybe days away from a complete meltdown of our financial system.” That fear has spurred Capitol Hill to bipartisan fervor, at least for now; legislators await a proposal from the Treasury on an industry-wide bailout. The Democrats will likely attempt to include assistance for individuals facing foreclosure, not just banks with bad portfolios.