Congress Passes Largest Financial Bailout Bill Since the Great Depression
Following two weeks of hand-wringing in Washington, D.C., and market tremors on Wall Street, Congress reversed course and passed a historic $700 billion government bailout of the disintegrating financial industry on October 3, 2008 by a vote of 263 to 171. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (“EESA”), spearheaded by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, went from a three-page proposal to a 450-page catalog, augmented by a long list of tax incentives and spending earmarks. Most importantly, the legislation gives the Treasury Department blanket authority to use the designated funds to purchase, manage and sell “toxic” assets held by financial institutions in order to address the worst credit and liquidity problems in the United States since the Great Depression. View full article (PDF).