Politico reports that the Treasury Department is readying itself to ask Congress for the rest of the $700 bailout money:
After a rush of new commitments, Treasury is now making preparations to ask Congress for clearance to tap into the second half of the massive $700 billion financial markets rescue fund approved prior to November's elections.
A final decision has not been made, but this is a marked change of tone from just a week ago, when Secretary Henry Paulson was giving interviews suggesting he had enough of a cushion that the second $350 billion could be left to the incoming Obama administration in January.
Between the Citigroup rescue over the weekend and a $20 billion Treasury contribution Tuesday to a new facility to shore up consumer loans, Paulson appears to be down to his last $15 billion.
Lost? It's not easy to keep all of the bailouts straight anymore:
The Treasury and Fed added to the ever-growing confusion over various bailout plans by announcing two new multi-billion dollar efforts today. At the same time, President-elect Barack Obama urged fiscal restraint while announcing additional members for his economic team. Obama plans to push through a stimulus package that has it's own price tag of
$500 billion to $700 billion over two years.
At a press conference early in the day, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson revealed an $800 billion plan to help unfreeze consumer debt, a program that he called vital.