Isakson Votes to End $700 Billion Federal Program Used to Assist Troubled Banks, Automakers
U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today voted to end the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, known as TARP, which was designed to assist troubled banks, financial institutions and automakers, but now is being eyed by Democrats as a way to fund their new spending initiatives.
The amendment, which required 60 votes to pass, failed by a vote of 53-45. Isakson was a co-sponsor of the amendment, which sought to amend legislation to increase the federal debt limit.
Isakson argued that it is irresponsible to be increasing the federal debt ceiling without a plan to begin curbing federal spending and lowering our debt. The Treasury Department has more than $300 billion in unused TARP money, and the administration as well as House and Senate Democrats have begun eyeing the fund as a way to pay for their new spending initiatives. For example, the House recently passed another stimulus bill designed to create jobs and used TARP funds to offset $75 billion in new spending.
"It is time for the federal government to stop using the Troubled Asset Relief Program as a slush fund to spend whenever and wherever the White House sees fit," Isakson said. "Ending TARP is absolutely essential to decreasing the federal debt and reducing the need to increase the debt limit."
The amendment would have prohibited the Treasury Department from making any further commitments to spend TARP funds and would mandate that all returned TARP funds be used to lower our national debt.
On Jan. 15, 2009, Isakson voted to oppose the Bush administration's request to access the remaining $350 billion in TARP funds, citing his disappointment and frustration over how the administration spent the first $350 billion. Isakson also strongly opposed the Bush administration's decision to use TARP funds to bail out U.S. automakers.