WASHINGTON Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Tuesday the Bush administration has no immediate plans to extend emergency loans to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or to purchase the stock of the two companies.
Paulson told the Senate Banking Committee that the assistance plan put together by the administration and the Federal Reserve over the weekend was intended to serve as a backup if needed.
He said that if the government extends any financial backing to the two institutions it will be done "under terms and conditions that protect the U.S. taxpayer."
Before Paulson's appearance, Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., told Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that he was very upset with the rescue package for Fannie and Freddie that had been unveiled on Sunday.
"The Treasury secretary is asking for a blank check to buy as much Fannie and Freddie debt as he wants for this unprecedented intervention in our free markets," Bunning said, questioning whether the government had gotten any assurances from the two mortgage giants that the problems they are facing will not be repeated.
In his comments, Paulson said that it was essential for the government to put together a backup assistance package, given the important role the two companies play in supporting the housing market.