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Learning English - Words in the News
19 September, 2008 - Published 11:00 GMT
US to tackle financial crisis
A Wall Street trader

Financial officials in the United States say they are formulating a plan to help banks with bad debts - in an attempt to head off the economic crisis that has sent global markets into freefall this week. Our North America Editor, Justin Webb reports:

Listen to the story

A comprehensive approach backed by legislation - that is what the US Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, said he was hoping would be the result of last night's meeting on Capitol Hill.

The deal is not yet done but senior administration officials say they will keep at it for as long as it takes, and the leaders of the Republicans and the Democrats in the House of Representatives both suggested that agreement was close.

What they want to do is allow financial institutions to hand all the toxic loans that are at the heart of the financial meltdown to a newly created repository - in effect a nationalisation of all the bad debt.

The details of the plan are vague but there is a sense that the authorities need to find a way of getting a grip on this crisis - to convince everyone that the nation's politicians understand the gravity of the situation and will do whatever it takes to bring it under control.

Justin Webb, BBC News, Washington

Listen to the words

A comprehensive approach
a way of solving a problem that deals with every aspect and/or cause of it

backed by legislation
here, when laws are introduced to make the financial rescue plan work better and faster

keep at it
here, continue to work on the rescue deal

it takes
here, is necessary

to hand
to give someone else control or responsibility for something

toxic loans
high risk loans, i.e. when people borrow large sums of money while being unable to repay them, creating what is known as 'bad debt'

at the heart of
the main reason for

(figuratively) a complete failure, especially in financial matters

where something is collected and stored

getting a grip on
controlling, bringing under control

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