Inhofe: Bailout 'Most Outrageous Vote' in U.S. History
Tuesday, January 13, 2009 6:33 PM
By: Jim Meyers
U.S. Sen. James Inhofe tells Newsmax that Congress' approval of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout is the "most outrageous vote in American history."
The Oklahoma Republican also said he doesn't believe taxpayers will see the bailout funds paid back as promised.
Newsmax's Ashley Martella noted that at the request of President-elect Barack Obama, President George W. Bush is asking Congress to appropriate the second half of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), and asked the senator why he voted against TARP.
"First of all I was somewhat of a leader of the opposition way back in October, in mid-October," Inhofe responded.
"I think history will treat that vote as the most outrageous vote in American history, where 75 percent of the House and Senate voted to give an unelected bureaucrat an unprecedented amount of money - the largest amount in American history to be actually voted on at one time, with no strings attached, no guidelines, no oversight.
"Now that was bad enough and then ... President Bush came out with his statement [asking for the appropriation], which really disappointed me. I was still trying to get what we call S64 and that would have made the members of Congress responsible for passing or not passing this recommendation from Obama.
"Now what has happened is that President Bush has said, I guess he called up Obama, and said: What's your wish list?
"We've already introduced our resolution of disapproval ... I think it will pass the House and it could pass the Senate, although I think Harry Reid would not even allow a vote on it just to save the embarrassment to the new president, Obama, because all he has to do is veto the resolution of disapproval and then" the votes are there to override the veto.
"So it's a fait accompli," he added. "It is done. We're going to have another $350 billion to add to the first $350 billion.
"And I think there are a lot of smart economists who have said that nothing really good happened with the first $350 billion."
Martella asked: "Wasn't [Treasury Secretary Henry] Paulson supposed to account for the way he spent the money?"
Inhofe answered: "He was supposed to account for it. Even worse than that, he promised how it was going to be spent. He was going to buy damaged assets. That's what he was going to do.
"Fifteen minutes after he got his hands on the money, he forgot all about that and never bought any damaged assets and instead bailed out various banks...
"A lot of Republicans are saying, well that money's not gone, he bought preferred stock and it's going to be paid back with interest.
"Well that would be awfully nice, but I don't think that's going to happen."
Sen. Inhofe also used the word "outrageous" in characterizing Obama's reported intention of shutting down the terrorist holding facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by executive order.
"I've been down there probably more than anyone else has," he said, "and I have yet to be down there where the prisoners weren't treated better, in terms of living conditions, than our own troops.
"I think we need it, and I wish that Obama, when talking about closing Guantanamo, would say: All right, where are we going to put those people?"