But House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson understands that each of these year-end priorities are related. "Negotiations are now going on," Frank said.
As negotiators continued their four-way discussions on Monday, Frank said the administration has accepted some form of foreclosure mitigation to help overstretched homeowners reduce the overall costs of their loans, as well as expanded oversight of the Treasury Department as the agency carries out its proposed authority to start buying up to $700 billion in devalued mortgage-related assets.
"The administration has accetped our views on oversight, on diminishing the discretion, on clearly defining that it's assets that are in America," Frank told reporters Monday afternoon. "There is some conversation over compensation or corporate governance.
This makes limits on executive pay for companies that sell their distressed debt to the federal government the major point of contention between the administration and negotiators on the House side. "I just think that it's inconceivable that people should say the taxpayer should put some money at risk because of bad decisions made by people who were then continued to be rewarded without any restrictions and, in fact, would be rewarded for their mistakes," Frank said.
Frank, the chief negotiator in the House, also believes he is close to a deal with his Senate counterparts, suggesting the House and Senate would like to reach an agreement before either chamber votes to ensure both are considering the same package. "We do agree to move quickly," Frank said. "The hold-up is not the drafting; it's the conceptual stuff. But yes, I think we would want to both pass the same bill."
"We're pretty close," Frank said of House negotiations with Senate Democrats, saying there are some differences about the affordable housing fund, some budget scoring issues and money market funds.
The Financial Services chairman believes the House will be a vote on this massive package within "a couple days."