Tulsa World: Sen. Inhofe says freeze plan dead

Tulsa World

 

Sen. Inhofe says freeze plan dead

By: JIM MYERS World Washington Bureau

Friday, December 12, 2008

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe conceded Thursday his effort to freeze what is left of the government's $700 billion bailout of the nation's financial system is dead.

"It's not going to be considered,'' the Oklahoma Republican said in floor remarks against the current proposal to bail out the auto industry.

Referring to opposition that may kill the $14 billion proposal for the ailing auto industry, Inhofe asked where that same outrage was during the debate on the earlier bailout of financial institutions.

He voted against the $700 billion legislation and repeatedly has accused those who supported it of abdicating their responsibility to the taxpayers by signing a "blank check'' to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

Inhofe has introduced two separate bills that essentially would freeze at least the second half of the $700 billion and require an affirmative vote by Congress before Paulson or his successor could tap it.

Current legislation gives the Treasury secretary the authority to dip into the second $350 billion unless lawmakers vote to block it.

After conceding he would be unable to get either of his bills scheduled for action, Inhofe again suggested those who voted for the $700 billion bailout could find redemption in his effort. Records indicate few have taken him up on that, as least officially.

Seven senators have signed on as co-sponsors to one of the bill bills, and only two, including Sen. Tom Coburn, Inhofe's fellow Oklahoma Republican, have done so on the second bill.

Coburn, who voted for the $700 billion bailout, declined to comment.