I received this email from him today. The Senate voted before the House, and I have little faith that the House will do anything about it, but I had to do a cup check here.
Thank you for contacting me about the Treasury Department’s efforts to stabilize the financial markets. It is good to hear from you.
Treasury officials failed to implement a workable program that holds financial institutions accountable and protects U.S. taxpayers. By unilaterally choosing to infuse federal monies directly into financial institutions, Treasury Secretary Paulson side-stepped many of the taxpayer safeguards Congress established in the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).
It’s unacceptable that most financial institutions receiving aid refuse to disclose how those monies are spent. The TARP program was intended to restore liquidity to the markets so that Americans could continue to access credit for important purchases like homes, cars, or an education. But many institutions failed to increase consumer lending. Others are using tax dollars for things Congress never intended. In some cases, the Treasury Department gave money to banks that weren’t even facing a financial crisis. And worst of all, many companies continued to dole out extravagant year-end bonuses to top executives while hardworking taxpayers struggle to make ends meet. Enough is enough.
President Bush formally requested access to the remaining $350 billion in TARP funds on January 12th. Under the law, Congress has 15 days to act to deny the funds. Despite promises from President-elect Obama’s incoming economic team to implement changes in the TARP program, I do not support releasing the money and will work with my colleagues to deny the administration’s request. While this is an unsettling economic time, many indicators suggest our economy is stabilizing. I believe it’s time to let the markets work and closely monitor the taxpayer dollars already committed.
We can’t borrow and spend our way back to a strong economy. It’s time to give American taxpayers – not Wall Street executives – a break. Congress must work together to create high-quality jobs and lower the tax burden on working families to promote long-term growth. Your comments will be helpful to my deliberations as I continue to discuss this issue with my colleagues and as Congress debates legislation to strengthen our troubled economy. Again, thank you for contacting me.
Charles W. Boustany, Jr., M.D.
Member of Congress