Republican Leaders Split on Geithner Plan

News & Politics

Republican leaders in Congress offered a range of reactions on Monday to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's plan to partner with private investors to buy toxic assets from troubled banks and set a price for them that both banks and investors could be happy with.

The divided sentiments -- with some GOP leaders speaking positively about the proposal, others negatively, and others avoiding judgment altogether -- suggest that party leaders are still trying to determine the political dynamics of Geithner's proposal.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell McConnell, for instance, said he was willing to "give the Secretary of the Treasury credit for finally turning to the real issue here." But he wouldn't offer an opinion on the substance of the plan. "I'm not prepared to react to that yet," he said.

The Senate Budget Committee's senior Republican, Judd Gregg (N.H.), reacted more warmly. "[I]t's a genuine and sincere effort to try to free up the credit markets and especially to get balance into the real estate markets, which is at the core of the financial problems," said Gregg, a leading voice within his party on economic issues. "I don't know if it's going to work. Clearly the markets today reacted in a positive way to it. Whether it will work will depend on how much buy-in there is from the private sector."

Gregg suggested that the plan, if it worked right, could actually return money to the treasury.

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