"We are talking very aggressively with other countries around the world," Paulson said in an interview on ABC News' "This Week." "If a financial institution has business operations in the United States, hires people in the United States...they have the same impact on the American people as any other institution."
On "FOX News Sunday" with Chris Wallace, Paulson urged Congress to quickly approve the bailout plan because the country's regulatory system for financial market is outdated and must be overhauled.
The market is clogged up, Paulson said. American companies are unable to raise money in normal ways.
"If we get to a situation where companies can't readily raise financing, where it's difficult for farmers and small business men to get loans, where people's retirement incomes are threatened, that's a situation we don't want to have," he said.
He also told Wallace that not all financial institutions could be saved. "I can't say that there won't be more financial institutions that have problems here. The concern I have is for the American people and the economy. ... We're not doing this to protect our financial institutions in and of themselves." He also said that the final tab would not be $700 billion because the government would be able to recoup much of its initial investment through the eventual sale of these assets.
"This is not a spending program," Paulson said. "It would be extraordinary circumstances, highly unlikely, that the cost would be anything like the amount we spend for the assets."
Paulson will also appear on CBS' "Face the Nation" and on NBC's "Meet the Press."