The treasury chief gave lawmakers a broad tutorial about the debt markets - "sub-prime for dummies," as one aide described it - but he did not walk his fellow Republicans through the specifics of his plan to give lower-income borrowers with the best credit the chance to temporarily freeze the interest rates on their home loans.
Most Republicans remain supportive of the proposal, but his briefing - particularly the lack of detail - did nothing to bolster lawmakers' confidence in his plan.
"The proposal they've offered is a good one," Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said afterward, before conceding, "I didn't hear anything specific about what he's proposing."
Republican leaders are particularly concerned that congressional Democrats will move legislation to revise bankruptcy laws in order to give homeowners more protection from lending institutions. Critics argue the bill, offered in the House by Judiciary Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), Education and the Workforce Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), would make it harder for would-be home buyers to secure loans and could complicate the already turbulent debt markets.