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Begich Supports Effort to End TARP

Measure would have barred Treasury from releasing further funds

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich Jan. 21 joined Republicans and Democrats in an effort to end the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Begich voted for an amendment from Sen. John Thune (R - South Dakota) that would have barred the Treasury Department from releasing any remaining funds from the $700 billion bailout of banks, automakers and financial firms formulated under the Bush Administration.

The amendment to a bill that would raise the debt ceiling to $14.3 trillion required 60 votes to pass. It  failed by a vote of 53 to 45. Begich was one of 12 Democrats who supported the amendment, which would have mandated all returned TARP funds be used to lower the national debt.

"It's time to end the TARP bailout funds and focus on efforts to improve the federal debt and reduce the need to increase the debt limit," Sen. Begich said. "The original intent of TARP was to keep the financial markets from crashing and limit the impact on Americans' pensions, savings and investments. Since that time, the economy has slowly started to turn around, markets are stable, and further TARP funding is unnecessary."

In September, Begich joined Thune and several other Senators in a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner requesting the TARP program end on Dec. 31, 2009 and all TARP repayments be returned Treasury for debt reduction.

"As elected officials with the responsibility to the American public when it comes to overseeing taxpayer interests, we urge you not to extend TARP," the letter stated. "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 further action is required."

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