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Treasury Officials Briefing Hill Staffers On Plan

With details of the the Treasury Department's proposed $700 billion bailout plan for Wall Street just leaking out this morning, senior Bush administration officials are briefing Capitol Hill staffers now, according to Democratic and GOP sources.

Staffers from the Senate Budget, Finance, and Banking committees are attending the session, as well as leadership aides. House Budget, Financial Services, and Ways and Means committee aides are also in attendance. The briefing is taking place in the Financial Services Committee offiices in the Rayburn House Office Building.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), as well as GOP congressional leaders, are withholding comment on the Treasury plan until after the briefing, said Hill sources.

The Treasury Department proposal would grant the executive branch authority to purchase up to $700 billion in mortgage-related assets over a two-year period. Congressional leaders have promised the White House a vote on the proposal by the time Congress adjourns next week for the elections.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in the conservative Republican Study Committee are holding a conference call at the same time to discuss the request, according to aides.