Paulson Leaves $350B to Obama

Is the news that Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson won’t be asking Congress for the second half of the $700 billion bailout good or bad for Democrats? Sure, they’ll take some of the blame away from the Bush administration if the plan goes wrong, but they can also look smart if the Obama administration comes up with an innovative way to spend the money. ProPublica has a rundown of how Paulson is plowing through his half of the cash, including the factoid that the Treasury has already given banks $148.6 billion as part of the Capital Purchase Program. Sixty billion dollars is still uncommitted, though the Bush administration says it will not use the money to help struggling automakers. Paulson instead is floating a number of ideas, among them helping homeowners or creating a loan program; we’ll know more when he testifies before lawmakers Tuesday.