Bailout to get first official critique

Dec. 2, 2008 at 8:44 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- One of three oversight mechanisms for the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stability Act kicks into action in Washington Tuesday.

The Government Accountability Office will give Congress the first of its bimonthly reports on the bailout's progress, CNNMoney reported.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke have said the liquidity measures have begun to free up credit, although some are expecting faster results and others have complained purchasing equity in financial firms hasn't done enough to help troubled homeowners.

The Treasury has spent $150 billion buying preferred shares in 52 institutions, CNNMoney reported.

"We expect banks to increase their lending as a result of these efforts," Paulson said Monday.

"This lending won't materialize as fast as any of us would like but it will happen much, much faster as confidence is restored."

A congressional panel charged with monitoring the bailout plan could issue its first report by the end of the year.

Congress has yet to confirm President George Bush's nominee for inspector general of the program. Bush nominated Neil Barofsky, a New York federal prosecutor, for the job.

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