Washington is so awful it’s funny. There really is nothing you can do but laugh. Consider the status of the second $350 billion tranche of “TARP” funds. Reports the New York Times:
Republican and Democratic Senate leaders signaled on Monday that they would support the release of the second half of the Treasury’s $700 billion financial system bailout fund, despite anger among many rank-and-file lawmakers over the Bush administration’s management of the program.
As Congress prepared to act, regulators directed thousands of banks to provide more information about how they have used the money received through the bailout program, responding to concern that financial institutions were hoarding the cash rather than lending it to businesses and consumers.
President-elect Barack Obama said on Monday that like Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, his administration would demand substantially greater oversight of the program.
President Bush on Monday formally requested the $350 billion from Congress at the urging of Mr. Obama.
Under the bailout law, Congress can block the money but only if the House and Senate act to do so. The Senate is expected to vote on the request as early as Thursday.
Aides said that Mr. Obama would attend the weekly lunch of Democratic senators at the Capitol on Tuesday, where he was expected to encourage his former colleagues to approve the bailout money as well as discuss details of his proposed $800 billion recovery package.
“I think many of us have been disappointed with the absence of clarity, the lack of transparency, the failure to track how the money’s been spent and the failure to take bold action with respect to areas like housing, consumer credit, so that we can maintain credit,” he said.
Almost everyone, except President George W. Bush, admits frustration as to how the first $350 billion in bail-out funds was squandered with little transparency and accountability. So when he asks that the next $350 billion be released, what does Congress do? Agree with him! Of course. What could be more appropriate for Washington?!
Just wait until the pork barrel “stimulus” bill starts moving through Congress.