Change would give US power to seize firms
'Resolution' unit would take over toxic assets
By Jennifer Loven and Martin Crutsinger
Associated Press / March 19, 2009
WASHINGTON - President Obama said yesterday he will seek new powers that would allow his administration to seize troubled companies such as the insurer AIG - and take ownership of their toxic assets - if their collapse would threaten the financial system.
Obama said his administration will fast-track new financial industry oversight that includes a "resolution authority" that would have powers similar to those of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which can seize control of banks, take over their bad assets, and sell the good ones to competitors.
"Nobody here was responsible for supervising AIG and allowing themselves to put the economy at risk by some of the outrageous behavior that they were engaged in," Obama said. "We are responsible, though. The buck stops with me. And my goal is to make sure that we never put ourselves in this kind of position again."
Obama touted the idea as his top officials and members of Congress scrambled to deal with public outrage over millions in employee bonus payments made by American International Group, which has received more than $180 billion in government support.