INHOFE VOTES AGAINST MASSIVE BAILOUT AGAIN

“This was supposed to be TARP, but today, I’m officially renaming it S.O.A.P. - Spend On Anything Program.”

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), today voted against releasing the second $350 billion of the $700 billion bailout. Senator Inhofe has led the effort to block access to the remaining $350 billion in bailout funds. Together with Senators Vitter, Bunning, DeMint, Barasso, and Sessions, Senator Inhofe has introduced the disapproval resolution, pursuant to Section 115 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, passage of which would be a crucial step towards doing the right thing for the taxpayer and not allowing the funding to be released. Senator Inhofe was one of the 25 Senators who voted against the original $700 billion bailout.  

 

“Once again, the United States Congress has abdicated our responsibility and handed over a blank check to the President of the United States without any oversight or accountability,” Senator Inhofe said. “ This was supposed to be TARP (the Troubled Asset Relief Program), but today, I’m officially renaming it S.O.A.P. - Spend On Anything Program.

“There may be a lot of talk about change coming to DC, but so far we have yet to see anything but empty words and broken promises. Despite all of the complaints and outrage over the way the first $350 billion was spent, nothing was done to ensure greater oversight and more transparency. 

“Many of my colleagues - both Democrat and Republican had joined my bill to freeze the bailout- but our efforts were undercut. To those of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle who had the foresight to know that the bailout vote was wrong, events have confirmed what concerned us about the bailout. We handed over billions and billions of dollars. We have no information about how the decisions are made regarding who gets the money. Even as we are set to vote on releasing the second $350 billion, both the Government Accountability Office and the TARP Congressional oversight panel have both issued reports in which they discuss how we don’t even know if the capital injections are responsible for any improvement in the availability of credit or increases in lending, and most certainly we all know that releasing these funds will do nothing to help the recession we are in. In addition, many of us raised concerns about troubled industries lining up to get their share of the money. We’ve already seen it happen with the autos and I expect we shall see more.”  

FULL SENATE FLOOR REMARKS 

It should come as no surprise to my colleagues that I am vehemently opposed to releasing the second $350 billion of the $700 billion bailout. Senators Vitter, Bunning, DeMint, Barasso, Sessions, and I have introduced a disapproval resolution, pursuant to Section 115 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. Regardless of how you voted on the original bailout vote, I urge my colleagues to support the resolution of disapproval. Regardless of which administration controls the White House, or which party controls the Congress, or your ideological affiliation, it is clear that the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street banks was wrong.  

I should note before I continue that I have fought, both last Congress and again in the beginning of this Congress, to change the process in which the Senate is now set to engage for releasing these funds. The current process gives far too much deference to the executive branch of government and my bill, S.64, would have put the US Congress back into the process in a meaningful way. In this fight I was joined by a bipartisan group of 12 US Senators, each of whom realized, as I did, that the institution of the United States Congress is among the many things damaged by the $700 billion bailout. Congress signed a blank check to an unelected bureaucrat in the executive branch for an unprecedented sum of money with no oversight or accountability.  

To those of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle who had the foresight to know that the bailout vote was wrong, events have confirmed what concerned us about the bailout. We handed over billions and billions of dollars. We have no information about how the decisions are made regarding who gets the money. Even as we are set to vote on releasing the second $350 billion, both the Government Accountability Office and the TARP Congressional oversight panel have both issued reports in which they discuss how we don’t even know if the capital injections are responsible for any improvement in the availability of credit, increases in lending, and most certainly we all know that releasing these funds will do nothing to help the recession we are in. In addition, many of us raised concerns about troubled industries lining up to get their share of the money. We’ve already seen it happen with the autos and I expect we shall see more.  

We are, of course, told that this time it will be different. And though it won’t be hard to improve upon the past performance, we have seen that this pot of money, $350 billion, can be spent in any way the Treasury Secretary wants. The auto bailout bears this out. The entire rationale for the $700 billion was to prevent an imminent collapse of the financial system. Regardless of what you think about the auto bailout, there’s no escaping the fact that it had absolutely nothing to do with the original justification for the grant of such sweeping authority. Furthermore, regardless of your assessment of the ability of the incoming administration to execute the program in a manner more towards your liking, there’s no escaping the fact that the entire endeavor has been unhealthy for our system of checks and balances. 

The United States Congress is once again about to abdicate its responsibility and hand over a blank check to the President of the United States without any oversight or accountability. Despite all of the complaints and outrage over the way the first $350 billion was spent, Congress is going to do the same thing all over again. This was supposed to be TARP II, but officially I'm renaming it to SOAP -- spend on anything program. This Congress has the opportunity to do the right thing. We don’t often get second chances, but we have one before us right now. I urge my colleagues in the strongest possible terms to stand up for all taxpaying Americans who have voiced their outrage and put an end to the $700 billion bailout.  

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