Bailout is running out of money
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson
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Steve Chiotakis: There is an update coming later today from Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on the government's financial rescue efforts. Seems a good chunk -- like half -- of the money's already gone. And Paulson's going back to Congress for more. That was the original deal, but some lawmakers aren't happy about the spending spree so far. Here's Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer.
Nancy Marshall Genzer: Congress gave Treasury Secretary Paulson the first half of the $700 billion bailout package with few strings attached. But lawmakers need to approve the second half.
And many do not approve of the way Paulson has been spending the money. They don't think enough is making its way into loans for consumers and small businesses. And congressional leaders have joined Michigan lawmakers in asking Paulson to use some of the money to help the auto industry.
Congressman Sander Levin is a Michigan Democrat:
Sander Levin: We have to act in November in terms of the auto industry. It can't wait.
Congress could amend the bailout bill to force Paulson's hand. But University of Texas law professor Henry Hu expects Congress to green light the rest of the cash, with or without changes.
Henry Hu: Nobody wants to be seen to be increasing the risk of some kind of economic Armageddon.
Adding to the pressure? No one's sure about the proper role of government during an economic crisis.
In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.