"An $85 billion loan is a staggering sum and is just too enormous for the American people to bear the risk; Congress will demand answers to prevent this from happening again," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement after meeting with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid announced on Wednesday that he plans to hold the Senate in pro forma sessions after the November elections, so that oversight committees can continue working on the financial crisis.
"Secretary Paulson said this would have to take place in the next administration because there's just so much that has to be determined," he said.
First step: Extensive rounds of oversight hearings, beginning this week and carrying on through the traditional fall recess. This week and next, House and Senate banking panels are summoning federal regulators to field questions on issues ranging from the response to bank failures and the government takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to turmoil in US credit markets.
But lawmakers are already looking to fall elections and a new administration thereafter to settle the issue of what changes in the nation's regulatory framework may be needed – or politically possible.