Sunday, February 1, 2009

Obama administration says rescue plan 'on track'

An official in U.S. President Barack Obama's administration said on Saturday the announcement of a rescue plan for the financial system was running on schedule."We are on track," the administration official said in response to a question about a CNN report the plan's announcement would take extra time due to its complex nature.
The official said the administration had never announced a formal date for the roll-out of the plan to bolster the banking system and credit markets that have been battered by the collapse of the U.S. housing market and a spike in mortgage failures. The official declined to provide further details.A source familiar with the administration's thinking said the plan could be announced as early as next week.
But CNN, citing administration officials, said the announcement of the plan would be pushed into the second week of February as officials sort out details.
"Administration aides are saying that they want to get the details right, that there are a lot of moving pieces, and so it's going to take an extra week," CNN said.
Key lawmakers such as Democratic Representative Barney Frank are expected to meet with Obama over the next few days to discuss the financial services rescue plan, according to the source.One of their priorities is to ensure there is more transparency in how banks use the government funds, the source said.Obama said earlier in the day the plan would be announced soon and would help lower mortgage costs for homeowners and spur the flow of credit to businesses and households.
So far, about half the $700 billion of the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program has been used up since it was rushed out late last year to tackle the crisis, and economists have said a lot more money may be needed to fund the next phase of the rescue.Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive of bond firm Pacific Investment Management Co, or Pimco, said a long delay in announcing the plan would be badly received by markets.

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