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Public Statements

Letter To The Honorable Timothy F. Geithner, Secretary, United States Department Of Treasury

Grassley Works to Stop TARP Spending Authorities

Senator Chuck Grassley today joined Senate colleagues to send a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner pushing him to allow the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to expire at the end of the year. Current law allows the Treasury Department to extend TARP authority for an additional nine months through October 3, 2010.

"Last week the secretary testified before Congress that the economy was recovering. If this is indeed true, there should be no reason to extend the TARP program," Grassley said. "The Treasury Department didn't use the funds as Congress intended when it passed the law. It instead became a slush fund for the Treasury Secretary to pick winners and losers among any company directly, or indirectly, connected to our financial markets. It's unfortunate for the taxpayers of this country that the administration may want to continue this flawed program of bailing out Wall Street."

Grassley was an advocate for creating a special inspector general for the TARP to try to hold the program accountable and co-sponsored legislation to strengthen the ability of the special IG to conduct oversight after the TARP program changed its original mission. Earlier this year, Grassley also battled the White House after it tried to subject requests of the special IG to the red tape of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

The Honorable Timothy Geithner

Secretary

United States Department of Treasury

1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20220

Dear Secretary Geithner:

As we approach the termination date for authority to spend federal funds allocated to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) through the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) (PL 110-343), we ask you to allow the authority to expire on December 31, 2009. As you know, the latest TARP report shows a significant amount of unobligated funds. Ending the authority for TARP would help improve the Federal debt going forward and reduce the need to increase the debt limit, which Congress has raised three times in the last 14 months.

When Congress passed EESA last October, the financial markets were in a downward spiral, and our country was facing an unprecedented credit crisis. Then Treasury Secretary Paulson requested $700 billion in federal funds to purchase toxic assets, which were at the heart of the financial crisis. Congress was told it was imperative to act quickly before the financial markets crashed, taking with it the pensions, savings and investments of hardworking, American taxpayers. As you know, the Senate passed EESA on a bipartisan basis, including the support of then-Senator Obama. Subsequent to the enactment of this legislation, however, TARP has been used by the federal government to acquire ownership stakes in banks, financial institutions, and automakers. This direct investment certainly was not the intention of Congress in passing this legislation. In fact, Congress explicitly rejected legislation to provide federal funds to bail out car manufacturers.

Based on your comments to the TARP Congressional Oversight Panel on September 10, 2009, it appears that you believe that our financial markets are recovering. In addition, borrowing costs are down for both business and consumer lending and banks are reporting stronger balance sheets. While we understand that our economy is still recovering, we believe it can function without added TARP funding. Additionally, the cost to the taxpayer if TARP authority was extended could be substantial. Already the taxpayer is expected to lose tens of billions of dollars on funding that was provided to GM, Chrysler and AIG.

As elected officials with the responsibility to the American public when it comes to overseeing taxpayer interests, we urge you not to extend TARP. To the extent you have concerns that allowing TARP to expire after this year would jeopardize the progress made in the recovery of our financial markets, we would remind you that Congress stands ready to work alongside the Administration if future action is required. This program should expire on December 31, 2009, and all TARP repayments should be returned to the Treasury for debt reduction.

Sincerely,

Senator Lamar Alexander

Senator John Barrasso

Senator Mark Begich

Senator Bob Bennett

Senator Kit Bond

Senator Sam Brownback

Senator Jim Bunning

Senator Richard Burr

Senator Saxby Chambliss

Senator Tom Coburn

Senator Thad Cochran

Senator Susan Collins

Senator Bob Corker

Senator John Cornyn

Senator Mike Crapo

Senator Jim DeMint

Senator John Ensign

Senator Mike Enzi

Senator Lindsey Graham

Senator Charles Grassley

Senator Orrin Hatch

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison

Senator Jim Inhofe

Senator Johnny Isakson

Senator Mike Johanns

Senator Jon Kyl

Senator George LeMieux

Senator Dick Lugar

Senator John McCain

Senator Mitch McConnell

Senator Lisa Murkowski

Senator Jim Risch

Senator Pat Roberts

Senator Jeff Sessions

Senator Richard Shelby

Senator Olympia Snowe

Senator John Thune

Senator David Vitter

Senator George Voinovich

Senator Roger Wicker


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