A key House Republican introduced a bill Monday that will set a Dec. 31 deadline for the Treasury Department to lend money to troubled financial institutions.
The government launched the $700 billion TARP -- or the Troubled Asset Relief Program -- last fall to bail out banks and other financial institutions whose collapse posed a systemic risk to the US economy. Treasury has since allocated more than $600 billion to dozens of banks, the American Insurance Group (AIG), and failed automakers GM and Chrysler, among other companies.
"It's time to terminate the TARP program," Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, told reporters on Monday. "TARP is increasingly not being a vehicle for economic stability and taxpayer protection but is evolving into 700 billion dollar revolving slush fund that the administration can use to advance economic, social and political agenda items far and apart from what Tarp was ever designed to do."
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) is pursuing similar legislation in the Senate. This seems a bit hypocritical for the Republicans to now speak out against the TARP fund that Bush fought for signed into law, but it's better late than never.