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Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Speaker, today I rise in support of H.R. 1242, the TARP Accountability and Disclosure Act. As the lead Republican sponsor of this legislation, I have worked closely with Representatives Maloney and Cantor as well as Financial Services Committee Chairman Frank and Ranking Member Bachus to bring this important bill to the House floor.
The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, EESA, created the Troubled Assets Relief Program, TARP, which authorized the Treasury Department to buy $700 billion worth of troubled assets from financial institutions. This money has also been used by Treasury to purchase preferred stock from banks and other financially troubled companies, such as AIG, General Motors, and Chrysler, and in support of programs such as the Targeted Investment Program, Asset Guarantee Program, and Consumer and Business Lending Initiative Investment Program to name a few. While Congress did subsequently place additional conditions on how it could be spent, it has been rather difficult to follow and account for this vast amount of money.
It is also important that not only our government but also the American People know exactly where their taxpayer dollars are going for programs such as TARP. The TARP Accountability and Disclosure Act requires the creation of a database system within the Department of Treasury and provides for additional monitoring and accountability that will provide true transparency of how the TARP funds are used. This system would serve as an efficient mechanism for oversight, audits, and investigations. H.R. 1242 will also require that this database be made publicly available, allow for the daily collection of information and for the filtering of data content. Finally, it will prohibit the disclosure of information that would already be prohibited by any federal or state law or regulation including proprietary information.
So, why is this necessary? Well, not only is this information reported to over 25 different federal agencies, including the SEC, Federal Reserve, FDIC, and Commodities Futures Trading Commission, but the data is located in various systems and formats that are incompatible with one another. The TARP Accountability and Disclosure Act would require all relevant TARP data collected be put in a single standardized format so these funds will be transparent and traceable.
I am pleased to report that this legislation is supported by many organizations including the Chamber of Commerce, the Center for Democracy and Technology, OMB Watch, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, and the NAACP.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
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