WASHINGTON, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said there's no timetable for asking Congress for access to the rest of the $700 billion emergency bailout package.
At a news conference Tuesday to explain the latest moves taken by the federal government to shore up the economy, Paulson said there is no doubt new challenges will arise as the economic situation develops.
"We're continuing to work and develop and deploy TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) capital in programs that make sense," Paulson said. "We have no time line for drawing down the next (portion of the bailout package) but Congress set a process in place for doing that. We're focused on the programs and when the time is right we will avail ourselves of that congressional process."
Paulson said Tuesday's action by the Federal Reserve injecting $200 billion to buy mortgage-backed securities is aimed at supporting consumer lending.
"Nothing is more important to getting through this housing correction than the availability of affordable mortgage finance," he said, adding that the root cause of the current financial situation is the crisis in the housing market that spilled over into other areas
Reacting to a question about the drop in the gross domestic product and the biggest reduction in consumer spending in decades, Paulson said, "We are concerned and we are addressing it."
Paulson bristled at the suggestion the administration is actually in a holding pattern and plans to leave it to the next administration to handle the economic problems.
"I am going right to the end," Paulson said. "If you've got any doubt about that, I'll tell you, you are missing the point because we are working to deal with this situation in the most effective way possible. And we're going to continue to develop programs, deploy them when they're ready to go and work on having a very seamless transition here."