Economic rescue panel to hold LV hearing

WASHINGTON -- The expert committee created by Congress to monitor the government's $700 billion attempted rescue of the nation's financial system will hold its first field hearing in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

With Nevada at the center of the foreclosure crisis, "this was a good place to start," said Caleb Weaver, spokesman for the Congressional Oversight Panel for Economic Stabilization.

In Las Vegas, the committee members will try to build a picture of how a community is being affected by financial distress, federal efforts so far to fix it, and also any repair efforts by local governments and community groups, Weaver said.

Their findings likely will be included in a report scheduled to be filed with Congress on Jan. 9, Weaver said.

The hearing at 10 a.m., will be held at the Boyd Law School at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Local speakers are expected to include community leaders, academics and members of the public.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., have been confirmed to speak.

The committee was created by Congress in October, at the same time it passed legislation authorizing the Bush administration to spend up to $700 billion to revive the credit and investment banking systems through the Treasury-managed Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The committee reports monthly to Congress, and also will file periodic reports with further recommendations on financial rescues.

The panel members are Chairwoman Elizabeth Warren, who is Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas; Richard Neiman, New York superintendent of banks; and Damon Silvers, associate general counsel of the AFL-CIO. There is one vacancy.