Conservatives Look to Block Remaining Bailout Funds

Posted January 14, 2009 at 12:39pm

Senate Republicans, led by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), said Wednesday that they will try to stop the clock on President George W. Bush’s request to release the second installment of Wall Street bailout funds.

“[The Troubled Assets Relief Program] has really devolved into a slush fund for the administration to do whatever it likes from week to week,” Vitter said at a press conference, noting that the Bush administration had originally insisted it would not use the funds to buy stocks or bail out industry sectors and then attempted to do just that within weeks of the bill passing.

Joined by Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Vitter also criticized the lack of transparency and oversight of the bailout program, calling it “mindboggling and embarrassing.”

The Republicans are pushing to prevent the release of the remaining bailout money through a “resolution of disapproval.”

Bush and President-elect Barack Obama have asked that the $350 billion be released. Obama made a personal appeal for the funds to the Senate Democratic Conference on Tuesday, while incoming White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and top Obama economic adviser Larry Summers will make the pitch to Republican Senators on Wednesday afternoon.