October 27, 2008
The bailout is now the hottest lobbying game in town.
Insurers, automakers and American subsidiaries of foreign banks all want the Treasury Department to cut them a piece of the largest government rescue in U.S. history.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The betting is that many with their hands out will be successful, especially with financial markets in a stomach-churning dive and predictions the economy is about to tumble into a deep recession.
These groups argue that the credit squeeze is so severe and the risks to the economy so dire that their industries need financial support as well.
The Treasury is considering requests from a variety of industries, but has not decided whether to expand the program, officials said Saturday.
Lobbying efforts are intensifying.
The Financial Services Roundtable wrote Treasury officials on Friday requesting that the initiative to buy $250 billion in bank stock grow to cover insurers, auto companies, securities dealers and U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies, including banks. The Treasury’s plan is intended to bolster banks’ tattered balance sheets and get them to resume making loans.
As the Treasury now interprets it, these additional groups would not participate in the bank stock program. They could receive help from a separate part of the $700 billion rescue that will buy bad assets from financial institutions.
Steve Bartlett, the president of the Roundtable, urged the Treasury to broaden the definition of those eligible for the stock purchase program.
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