The government will help homeowners restructure shaky mortgages financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but partisan debate looms over how to keep up the aid.
A government mired in debt combined with a recession will make the path to recovery difficult for the president-elect.
In essence, Congress is telling him to create his own financial recovery plan.
Democrats will use credit-crisis hearings this month as a springboard for more regulation next year.
Lawmakers are watching the stock market as an indicator of whether to buy Bush's plan.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson warns of measures that could slow the bailout bill, but says, "I share your frustrations" on executive pay.
The administration's bailout plan would make him temporary overseer of the US financial system.