The White House, spokesman Tony Fratto said that, “The Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said he's working to continue to design and develop programs, and when it's the right time to use them Treasury will announce it. And if it then makes sense to go to Congress, he'll recommend we request to drawdown the second $350 billion,” Last week the Treasury secretary announced he was abandoning his plan to free up the nation’s credit system by buying up toxic assets from troubled financial institutions. Paulson wants to take a more direct action on the consumer credit front. So far, the Treasury Department has pledged $335 billion mostly for banks in return for partial ownership, a measure designed to encourage the institutions to boost lending and stabilize credit markets.
The Oklahoma U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe told the Tulsa World that, “It is just outrageous that the American people don’t know that Congress doesn’t know how much money the Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has given away to anyone,” Later he learned of the initial $250 billion being allocated, the Treasury has sent out more than $161 billion in checks to 52 banks in exchange for preferred shares and a high dividend.
When the bill was enacted a Congressional Oversight Panel was created to review the state of the markets, current regulatory system, and the Treasury Department's management of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The panel is required to report their findings to Congress every 30 days, counting from the first asset purchase made under the program. The panel must also submit a special report to Congress about regulatory reform on or before January 20, 2009.
The panel consists of five outside experts appointed as follows, one member chosen by the Speaker of the House, Richard H. Neiman, one member chosen by the minority leader of the House, Judd Gregg quit the panel citing his congressional duties, one member chosen by the majority leader of the Senate, Elizabeth Warren, one member chosen by the minority leader of the Senate, Jeb Hensarling, and one member chosen by the Speaker of the House and the majority leader of the Senate, Damon Silvers, following consultation with the minority leaders of Congress.
The Comptroller General (director of the Government Accountability Office) is required to monitor the performance of the program, and report findings to Congress every 60 days. The Comptroller General is also required to audit the program annually. The bill grants the Comptroller General access to all information, records, reports, data, etc. belonging to or in use by the program.
When Senator Inhofe said, “It is just outrageous that the American people don’t know that Congress doesn’t know how much money the Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has given away to anyone.” Is he not reading the reports from the Comptroller General the director of the Government Accountability Office or the reports of the Congressional Oversight Panel that was created as part of the legislation? Did they get lost in the mail? For God’s sake he is a member of the Senate if he is not getting the reports he should do something about it.