WASHINGTON - One of the key parts of the government's financialrescue plan-buying troubled assets of financial institutions--hasbeen put on hold, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said today.

"Our assessment at this time is that this is not the mosteffective way to use TARP funds, but we will continue to examinewhether targeted forms of asset purchases can play a useful role,relative to other potential uses of TARP resources," he said inWashington.

The prospect of the government purchasing bad mortgages was akey selling point among skeptical lawmakers during thecongressional fight over the $700 billion plan in September andOctober.

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