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President George W. Bush walks alongside Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke (left) and SEC Chairman Christopher Cox (2nd right) and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (right) before speaking about the economy on Sept. 19, 2008. - 


Stacey Vanek-Smith: News that the federal government was crafting a $700 billion bailout plan for financial markets had stock markets all over the world singing on Friday. But the bloom came off that rose pretty fast. Big questions have come up about the plan and the markets have turned south again.

That's putting a lot of pressure on capital hill to get it right. Later today, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke will go before lawmakers to answer questions about the bailout plan. Marketplace's Steve Henn has more.

Steve Henn: The administration proposal puts the Treasury Secretary completely in charge of the biggest bailout in U.S. history. The administration bill exempts the Secretary from lawsuits and places few limits on the kind of mortgage-related assets the government can buy. Congress is pushing back. Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Sen. Banking committee, wants limits on executive compensation and more protections for taxpayers. Others would go further.

Christopher Dodd If we are going to authorize $700 billion to buy bad assets, there has to be something from industry.

Congressman Brad Miller serves on the House Financial Services Committee. He'd like to see bankruptcy judges empowered to rewrite mortgages to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. The banking industry fought that idea aggressively. But ...

Brad Miller: They're drowning, they are drowning entirely as a result of their own conduct, and now they are making demands about what kind of rope we are going to throw them.

But even Miller agrees they'll be rescued by the end of the week.

In Washington, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.