March 23, 2009
"There is no doubt the government is taking a risk. The question is how best to do it."
Timothy Geithner, Treasury Secretary, unveiling his toxic-assets plan in a briefing with reporters
The Treasury boss announces that he plans to use $75 billion to $100 billion in bailout money, combined with private capital, to buy up to $500 billion in toxic assets from banks. The rollout is a success compared with the train wreck in February, and stocks surge up about 500 points, the biggest one-day rise since November. The press claims that Wall Street has granted Geithner a "do over" and that this time he "clears the bar." President Obama throws in a few kind words, saying he's "very confident" about the bank plan and that it is "one more element that will be absolutely critical to get credit moving again."
Obama also makes the case for his plan to spend $150 billion over 10 years to invest in clean energy, and aides say that exploring new sources of renewable energy is one element of his budget that's non-negotiable.
Also making headlines: New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo reports that nine of the 10 biggest AIG bonuses have been returned, totaling some $30 million. Meanwhile, top House Democrat Barney Frank, an openly gay member of Congress, calls Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia "that homophobe" while discussing the Defense of Marriage Act.