Now that President Bush has requested his $700 billion bailout plan from Congress, work is under way on the details. The administration kept its 3-page outline simple so it could adjust to problems on the fly, the Wall Street Journal reports. But that gives Congress the opportunity to load it up with provisions of its own, particularly on homeowner relief, which could bog down a promised vote by next week.
Among the questions that need quick resolution:
- How much protection for homeowners? Leading Democrats say the plan lacks enough help for regular joes facing foreclosure.
- How much should the government pay to buy up these bad debts? Driving a hard bargain could hurt banks; being too generous hurts taxpayers.
- Too much or not enough? Conservatives are angry that free markets are being reined in, while some Democrats want an even broader stimulus plan with increased unemployment benefits.
- Will Congress demand more accountability than the proposed semiannual reports from Treasury?