Treasury defends handling of bailout

Associated Press - December 31, 2008 1:13 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Treasury Department is defending its management of a $700 billion bailout program amid criticisms about confusing shifts in strategy and deficiencies in tracking how the money is being used.

A new report says Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's decision to focus the program on providing banks and others with capital injections - rather than the original strategy of buying rotten assets from banks_ was necessary to respond to quickly changing financial market conditions.

The department insists the program is helping to stabilize the financial system, but acknowledges it will take time for conditions to return to normal.

The report says: "We have made significant progress, but there is no single action the federal government can take to end the financial market turmoil and the economic downturn."

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