Interest Rate Roundup

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bailout bill ready for a vote

Looks like both sides of the aisle hammered out a compromise bill over the weekend. You can read a draft of the plan here. Or, if you don't feel like reading all 100+ pages, here's a quick summary from the Washington Post:

"The bill gives Paulson the entire $700 billion that he sought, but not all at once: He has $250 billion immediately to begin purchase of the troubled assets. He can get an additional $100 billion on the president's authority, and the final $350 billion if the president submits a written report to Congress requesting the sum. Lawmakers will have 15 days to deny the request.

"According to the bill, the secretary must report to Congress and give a detailed accounting of purchases for every $50 billion in troubled assets he purchases.

"The bill establishes a Financial Stability Oversight Board that would include the chairman of the Federal Reserve, the Treasury secretary, the director of the Federal Home Finance Agency, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the secretary of housing and urban development.

"The bill also requires federal entities that hold mortgages and mortgage-backed securities to develop plans to minimize foreclosures.

"The bill raises the U.S. debt ceiling from $10 trillion to $11.3 trillion.

"If, five years from now, the government has not recouped its money, the president must submit a report to Congress proposing ways to make up the shortfall from the financial industry."

Incidentally, the bill also has a couple of other provisions related to mark-to-market accounting and and the Fed paying interest on required reserves. Per the Wall Street Journal:

"A summary of the legislation also indicates that the Securities and Exchange Commission will be given the authority to suspend mark to market accounting rules if the agency deems it necessary. And the legislation authorizes the Federal Reserve to start paying interest on the regulatory reserves it requires financial firms to hold for capital adequacy reasons in 2008, rather than in three years' time as it is currently scheduled to do."


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