Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), “ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, today issued the following statement regarding the news that the U.S. Treasury Department plans to sell the roughly 7.7 billion shares of Citigroup stock which were acquired during the financial crisis of 2008-2009,” according to a press release.
Senator Gregg stated, “Today’s announcement that Treasury will sell its shares of Citigroup is good news for the taxpayer and further proof that the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) worked as intended. This sale could result in a profit of nearly $7.5 billion, and these funds, by law, must go to pay down our massive federal debt that currently rings in at $12.7 trillion. However, just because we have further evidence that the TARP program has helped stabilize the financial system at minimal cost to taxpayers, that is no excuse for the Administration to continue to invent new uses for TARP funds that have little chance of succeeding and are guaranteed to be a total loss for taxpayers. TARP should not serve as the Obama piggy bank in order to fund the Administration’s endless desire to spend taxpayer dollars.”
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Under growing pressure “from conservatives and ‘tea party’ activists, Sen. John McCain of Arizona is having to defend his record of supporting the government’s massive bailout of the financial system,” the Arizona Republic reports.
In response to criticism from opponents seeking to defeat him in the Aug. 24 Republican primary, the four-term senator says he was misled by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. McCain said the pair assured him that the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program would focus on what was seen as the cause of the financial crisis, the housing meltdown.
"Obviously, that didn’t happen," McCain said in a meeting Thursday with The Republic’s Editorial Board, recounting his decision-making during the critical initial days of the fiscal crisis. "They decided to stabilize the Wall Street institutions, bail out (insurance giant) AIG, bail out Chrysler, bail out General Motors. . . . What they figured was that if they stabilized Wall Street- I guess it was trickle-down economics – that therefore Main Street would be fine."
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Filed under Interviews, TARP
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) “announced a new bill today that would tax bonuses given to executives at firms that received help from U.S. taxpayers in order to fund loans for small businesses,” according to a press release.
Brown’s bill would “use revenues generated from taxing bonuses at firms who received assistance through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to help small businesses expand operations and hire new workers.”
Brown’s bill would impose a 50 percent tax on all bonuses – both cash and stock pay-outs – in excess of $50,000 given to executives at firms that received taxpayer-funded assistance through the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. The revenues would be used to fund direct loans for small businesses administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
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Democrats from the “president on down say jobs are their No. 1 priority, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expects to announce details of a bill this week,” POLITICO reports.
But a squabble among “Senate Democrats is complicating early efforts to bring a bill to the floor.”
Sens. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Dick Durbin of Illinois have been working intensely on a jobs bill for more than a month, talking with relevant committee leaders and other members and dispatching aides to dozens of other meetings in the hopes of crafting a bill that could get through the Senate quickly.
And when they walked into a meeting in the office of Reid (D-Nev.) on Jan. 22, they thought they were about to cross the finish line — the Dorgan-Durbin plan would be blessed by the small group of senators in the room, presented to the full Democratic Caucus on Jan. 28 and then taken straight to the floor for a vote.
But Montana Sen. Max Baucus had other ideas.
The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, where the health care bill was debated for months last year, surprised the senators gathered in Reid’s office by suggesting he wanted a chance to mark up portions of the bill under his committee’s jurisdiction before it went to the floor, according to several people who attended the meeting.
What might be included in the package:
For now, Democrats say they are starting to coalesce around a hodgepodge of ideas, including one by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to create a Social Security tax break for employers who hire unemployed workers; “Build America” bonds for infrastructure; extensions of COBRA and unemployment insurance and money for energy-efficient projects. And Democrats may add versions of a proposal, outlined by President Barack Obama, to give tax credits to small businesses for hiring and pay increases.
The legislation will “carry a price tag far less than $80 billion, several sources said Friday.” Many of those funds may be paid by returned money from the “Troubled Asset Relief Program — a proposal fiercely opposed by Republicans who say returned TARP funds should pay down the debt.”
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Filed under Economy, TARP
Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Judd Gregg (R-NH) said today that the Obama Administration should end TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) and use the remaining funds to pay down the deficit.
“While the President’s plan to freeze what amounts to a small portion of discretionary spending is certainly a first step in the right direction, its effect on the growth of debt pales in comparison with the impact of simply following TARP law – ending the TARP authority immediately and using repaid TARP funds to pay down the debt. TARP served its intended purpose and is no longer needed, so its authority should not have been extended until October 2010, and it certainly should not be used for other purposes. In fact, under the TARP law, unused TARP authority cannot be used as a so-called “offset” for new spending bills.
“If the Administration has a genuine desire to address the nation’s crippling debt, it should not stop at freezing some discretionary spending. It should also turn off the TARP spigot for good, and reimburse taxpayers by using repaid TARP dollars to reduce our staggering debt burden, not expand the government further and drive the nation deeper into debt. Putting TARP dollars out of Congress’ reach will benefit taxpayers much more than just a discretionary spending freeze.”
(credit image – getty)