New York (HedgeCo.Net) – President-elect Barack Obama has been granted permission to dole out the second half of the $700 billion in the Troubled Asset Relief Program, after a vote of confidence from the Senate. They shot down a resolution that would have prevented him from distributing it, after much criticism came from the handling of the first $350 billion by the Bush administration.
"I’m gratified that a majority of the U.S. Senate, both Democrats and Republicans, voted today to give me the authority to implement the rest of the financial rescue plan in a new and responsible way," Obama said in a statement after the vote. “I know this wasn’t an easy vote because of the frustration so many of us share about how the first half of this plan was implemented.”
While most democrats were on board with the release of the funds, a few voted against it. A final vote of 52-42 gave Obama his first legislative victory just days before taking office. John McCain, who supported the enactment of the TARP program, voted against the release of the funds by Obama.
“If the Bush administration was going to continue to dole out this money, I wouldn’t give them three dollars, let alone $350 billion,” said Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat.
Republican Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma expressed his disdain that it is “probably going to be one of the most egregious votes in the history of this institution."
Larry Summers, who Obama has chosen to head the White House National Economic Council, wrote a letter to Congress earlier this week, urging them to let Obama take action. He focused on the fact that Obama would use a large chunk of the money to help troubled homeowners avoid foreclosures, while keeping public records so that all of the money could be accounted for. In addition, he expressed their belief that small businesses and community banks should be getting more help.
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