Ms. HIRONO. Mr. Chair, I rise in support of H.R. 384, the Troubled Assets Relief Program, TARP, Reform and Accountability Act.
Since this capital purchase program, TARP, was implemented, billions of dollars in taxpayer money have been disbursed to institutions with little to no accountability or oversight over these funds. A congressional oversight panel for TARP funding recently concluded that the Treasury Department essentially does not know how TARP fund recipients are utilizing these funds, and a report released last month by the U.S. Government Accountability Office urged TARP administrators to improve the program's internal controls to better monitor how the funds are being spent.
H.R. 384 amends the TARP provisions of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 to strengthen accountability, close loopholes, and increase transparency of the administration of this program. This bill requires any existing or future institution that receives TARP funding to provide quarterly public reporting on its use of the funding and stipulates that the Treasury Department administer a public database that includes the reporting, data collection, and analysis of use of TARP funds.
Last week the House voted unanimously to require our committees to hold periodic hearings on waste, fraud, and abuse in Government programs. As a cosponsor of this bill, H. Res. 40, I believe that Congress has an obligation to restore accountability and oversight
to government. H.R. 384, the TARP Reform and Accountability Act, is also critical to restoring the American people's faith in our Government and takes us one step closer to getting our country back on track.
Importantly, H.R. 384 requires that a certain amount of TARP funding be committed to foreclosure mitigation and stipulates that the Treasury Secretary develop a comprehensive plan to prevent and mitigate foreclosures on residential mortgages. This legislation also establishes a program to stimulate demand for home purchases and clear inventory of properties so that qualified home buyers can purchase homes at affordable mortgage rates. We cannot move quickly enough to provide assistance to homeowners across the country.
I urge my colleagues to vote for H.R. 384.