U.S. could have asked foreign countries to 'share the pain' of financial bailout

The United States could have asked foreign countries to "share the pain" of the bailout of the financial system, a government watchdog said in a report on Thursday.

In 2008, Congress voted to bail out the financial system with $700 billion, but more of that money went to financial firms based abroad than money from other countries wound up helping U.S. firms, the Congressional Oversight Panel report concluded.

"America's rescue had a much greater impact on other nations than their rescue programs had on the United States," the panel's chairwoman, Elizabeth Warren, told reporters late on Wednesday. "If the U.S. had gathered more information on the flow of rescue funds, it could have asked other countries to share the pain."

The report said the U.S. effort focused on flooding as much money into as many banks as possible, but that foreign countries designed their efforts more narrowly toward institutions that often did not have major U.S.-based arms.