The Washington Times - September 19, 2008, 12:17PM

President Bush called the top congressional leaders just before noon today to see if they plan to move forward with his administration’s plan to buy up half a trillion in bad debt.

Mr. Bush called Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and was planning on calling House Minority Leader John Boehner in the early afternoon, the White House said.

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“We’ve had very positive signs from the leaders,” said Keith Hennessy, the president’s economic adviser.

Mr. Bush announced his plan to buy up bad debt at the White House earlier in the morning, and urged Congress to move forward quickly with legislation to authorize it.

“We are calling on Congress to do something that is very big,” Mr. Hennessay said. “We’re optimistic that it will move as fast as it needs to.”

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke met with congressional leaders on Thursday night to brief them on the plan.

Mr. Hennessy said that staffers from the Treasury and Federal Reserve will meet over the weekend with staffers from the key congressional committees and hope to have legislation ready for a vote next week.