The meetings are being held by representatives of the Treasury Department and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., with input from the Federal Reserve and senior Wall Street executives.
Under the plan being floated: The FDIC or some government agency would create a so-called 'bad bank'. The bank would snap up illiquid mortgage assets, such as bonds and loans, from banks and financial institutions in an effort to bolster the banking system's balance sheet and allow banks to resume modest lending to business and consumers, which has been drastically curtailed during the financial crisis.
The plan is similar to the initial bank bailout unveiled under the Bush Administration last September, and like its predecessor plan, the new initiative has recently hit a major snag.
In the meantime, Obama is reportedly considering nominating Republican Sen. Judd Gregg as his commerce secretary, officials in Washington and New Hampshire said Thursday night.
Senior Democrats say the New Hampshire senator is among the top of a list of those considered for Obama's Cabinet, although they emphasized that no move was imminent. They spoke on condition of anonymity because no decision has been made and they were not authorized to discuss the administration's thinking. Other reports have Obama picking Symantec CEO John Thompson for the post. Thompson was a major fundraiser for Obama during the election.
Keep track of what Obama has been doing since taking office:
Day 10: Obama: Wall Street Bonuses are 'Outrageous' (Jan. 29)
- Obama said it is "irresponsible and shameful" for Wall Street bankers to be paid huge bonuses at a time when the America is dealing with economic hardship. He reacted harshly to reports that corporate employees got paid more than $18 billion in bonuses last year. Obama said he and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will have direct conversations with corporate leaders to make the point. (Full Story)
- Vice President Joe Biden told CNBC that the final stimulus bill, which is now in the Senate, will "get better," and he "expects Republicans to vote for it." "We're not giving up on bipartisan support," Biden said. Biden went on to say that the bill may end up having additional infrastructure spending and tax cuts but didn't say what those tax cuts might be. (Full Story)
- Gov. Rod Blagojevich was unanimously convicted at his impeachment trial and thrown out of office, ending a nearly two-month crisis that erupted with his arrest on charges he tried to sell Obama's vacant Senate seat. Blagojevich becomes the first U.S. governor in more than 20 years to be removed by impeachment. (Full Story)
Day 9: Stimulus Package Passes Vote in House (Jan. 28)
- Moving with remarkable speed, the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives approved $819 billion in spending increases and tax cuts at the heart of Obama's economic recovery program. Unhappy Republicans, however, said the bill was short on tax cuts and contained too much spending, much of it wasteful and unlikely to help laid-off Americans. (Full Story)
- Obama met with business leaders to keep up a lobbying campaign for passage of his economic plan, which could be the signature domestic initiative of his first term as he struggles to deal with the worst financial crisis in decades. Obama said it was important to act swiftly to boost the troubled U.S. economy, adding that it was facing "enormous problems." (Full Story)
- Republicans in the House, however, offered an alternative proposal to boost the struggling U.S. economy. The cost of their proposal is approximately $478 billion. (Full Story)
Russia has halted a plan to retaliate against a proposed U.S. missile defense shield by stationing its own missiles near Europe's borders. The suspension of plans, if confirmed, would show Russia is extending an olive branch to Obama after rocky relations under his predecessor. (Full Story)
Day 8: The Stimulus Package Plan Moves Forward (Jan. 27)
- Obama said he wants the House to pass legislation that hits his goal of spending 75 percent of the $825 billion stimulus plan within 18 months. The bill that the House is considering would only spend 64 percent of the money in that period, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. (Full Story)
- Geithner announced new rules to limit lobbying by companies that receive government financial assistance in one of his first moves after being sworn into office. The rules restrict lobbyist contacts in connection with applications for or disbursement of the Treasury's $700 billion bailout program. The rules will use as a model the protections that limit political influence on tax matters, and require the Treasury to certify each investment decision is based only on investment criteria and facts of the case. (Full Story)
- Symantec president John Thompson is Obama's top choice for commerce secretary.White House spokesman Gibbs said a final decision had not been made. Obama had previously nominated New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to fill the commerce post, but Richardson withdrew on Jan. 4 in the face of a legal inquiry. (Full Story)
Day 7: Obama's New Climate Policies (Jan. 26)
- Obama told the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider California's request to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars, reversing the climate policies of former President George W. Bush. (Full Story)
- Timothy Geithner won confirmation as U.S. Treasury secretary and vowed to act quickly to protect the U.S. economy from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.However, some lawmakers were disturbed by Geithner's late payment of $34,000 in self-employment taxes to vote against the nominee even though they felt he was well suited for the job otherwise. (Full Story)