Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson joined Republican and Democrat colleagues to disapprove providing additional funding for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The resolution was passed by a vote of 270-155.
“I am disgusted that, despite Congress’s explicit instructions, scrutiny and oversight of this massive program has been spotty at best and in some cases downright non-existent,” said Simpson. “Within days of its enactment, I expressed my concern to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Paulson that the taxpayer funds provided through TARP were not being used in the way Congress intended and were being used to boost a few healthy institutions instead of benefiting the entire system. Congress insisted on transparency and accountability, and yet that accountability is still nonexistent.”
Last fall, Congress approved $700 billion in TARP funding last fall to prevent the meltdown of the U.S. financial system by purchasing troubled assets from institutions that were suffering acutely under the burden created by the housing crisis. However, those funds were never used for the intended purpose but were redirected, without the consent of Congress, for other purposes, including a bail out of the U.S. automobile industry.
The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 only released half of the TARP funding and gave Congress the authority to disapprove the release of the second half. Last week the White House has requested that Congress release the remaining $350 billion. “Hardworking Idaho taxpayers expect value and accountability for every dollar they send to Washington, and I cannot support any continuation of this program without clear and fundamental changes to ensure that the taxpayers’ investment pays long-term dividends,” said Simpson.
While the House voted today to disapprove obligation of the remaining $350 billion under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, last week the Senate approved giving the additional money to the Administration.