Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he sees positive signs that the economy is recovering, although the recession remains "alive and acute" for families dealing with unemployment and facing home forceclosure.
Stocks are fluctuating following news that sales of new homes posted a surprise drop for September.
The House Financial Services Committee has voted to set new rules for credit rating agencies, which lawmakers say misled investors by giving high marks to risky securities tied to subprime mortgages.
The chairman of a key congressional panel Monday scaled back important parts of the Obama administration's plan to dismantle financial institutions that are deemed "too big to fail."
Stocks mostly fell Tuesday as mixed reports on home prices and consumer confidence gave investors little incentive to step into the market.
The number of U.S. bank failures in 2009 ran past the 100-level mark late Friday, when regulators shut down six banks.
Capmark Financial Group Inc., one of the largest commercial real-estate lenders in the U.S., said Sunday that it and some of its subsidiaries have filed for bankruptcy protection.
A private forecast of economic activity rose for the sixth straight month in September, a sign the economy may keep growing early next year despite rising unemployment.