January 22, 2009

Ryan opposes release of TARP billions

Congress is still trying to make right the stimulus package it passed under President Bush, even as it grapples with President Obama's proposals.

Earlier today, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI, 1st District, voted to prohibit release of the second half of funds allocated for the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). Keep in mind, Ryan voted for that stimulus program in October.

But the House today passed a "disapproval resolution," (H.J. Res. 3), on the heels of yesterday’s passage of H.R. 384, which a statement from Ryan's office says shifted TARP’s original purpose from addressing the systemic risk in the financial system to picking the winners and losers in the marketplace. H.R. 384 expands the Treasury Department’s authority to distribute TARP funds, while adding new provisions unrelated to financial stabilization efforts. By altering the original intent of the financial rescue package, today’s disapproval resolution was all the more important.

House Joint Resolution 3, the "disapproval vote," passed by 270 to 155, with only four Republicans but 151 Democrats voting nay.

Despite today’s House vote to prohibit the release of the additional funds, failure to do the same in the U.S. Senate will allow the final $350 billion to be released to the Treasury Department.

Arguing that such action cannot be justified, Ryan said:
“My fear is that the second $350 billion in TARP funding will go far beyond the original mission of preserving overall financial market stability, and instead will be used to fund a heavy-handed, neo-industrial policy. Various industries have already marshaled their lobbyists for a claim on these public dollars. And now that the Federal Reserve has additional authority to address a financial crisis, this funding is no longer justified.”
Ryan's statement on the House floor is here.

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