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Economic rescue plan sent to Congress

world Updated: Sep 20, 2008 14:19 IST

President George W Bush's administration was sending details of its massive finance sector rescue plan to members of Congress, a senior administration official said.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, gave no further details about the plan.

US authorities bolstered their arsenal on Friday to battle the financial market storm, readying a massive rescue plan worth hundreds of billions of dollars, fueling a powerful market rebound.

"This is a pivotal moment for America's economy," Bush said in a statement, as US officials began acting on a series of government steps.

Bush said that the federal government "should interfere in the marketplace only when necessary" but that "given the precarious state of today's financial markets, and their vital importance to the daily lives of the American people, government intervention is not only warranted, it is essential."

Full details of the plan were not released, but he said it would allow "the federal government's purchase of illiquid assets such as troubled mortgages from banks and other financial institutions."

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the rescue plan being drafted with the Federal Reserve and Congressional leaders to help purge bad assets from the banking sector will cost "hundreds of billions" of dollars.

Democratic leaders in Congress on Friday pledged quick action on a massive finance sector bailout, after being briefed on it by Paulson and Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke late Thursday.

"We're anxious to see their proposal, which we hope to receive in a matter of hours, not days," Senate Majority leader Harry Reid said after the briefing on Thursday.