January 14th, 2009
02:30 PM ET
5 years ago

Growing GOP opposition to additional $350 billion in bailout funds

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama is not only having trouble getting fellow Democrats to give him the remaining $350 billion dollars in financial bailout funds.

Now he has a growing Republican problem.

Some half a dozen Republican Senators who voted for the financial rescue in the fall tell CNN that they plan to oppose it this time.

“I think it would be very difficult voting for the TARP funds because in the first $350 billion, there was no transparency. We don’t even know how it was spent,” Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign told CNN.

Ensign said he believes most Senate Republicans will oppose approving the rest of the bailout funds.

In fact, three Republican Senators tell CNN that some participants in Tuesday’s GOP lunch urged Republicans to unite in opposition to Mr. Obama on this issue.

The Senators, who asked not to be named because it was a private meeting, said the GOP argument in opposing the bailout funds is to make Democrats “own” the issue – and put pressure on them to handle the controversial money more responsibly.

Many Republicans say they were angry that President Bush used the money for the auto industry, and disagree with proposals to spend the money on other industries beyond the financial sector.

GOP sources say another factor fueling their opposition is how much political trouble this issue caused several Republican Senators in the fall elections.

Texas Republican John Cornyn told CNN he got pounded in his re-election bid for voting yes on the Wall Street bailout. He said that, combined with mismanagement of an already unpopular program, means he will oppose releasing the remaining $350 billion.

Because of the growing GOP opposition, President-elect Barack Obama’s team will return to Capitol Hill to lobbying Senate Republicans for support.

Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama's incoming Chief of Staff, and Lawrence Summers, a top Obama economic adviser, will meet with the entire Senate Republican conference Wednesday afternoon.

A Senate Democratic leadership aide said the phone calls Obama has been making to Senate Democrats since Monday have swayed some Democrats who have been reticent to disperse more money from the extremely unpopular bailout program, but "we're going to need some Republicans," the aide said.

There are some notable Republican supporters of approving the remaining bailout dollars. Sen. Judd Gregg, R-NH, is arguing forcefully to his colleagues that financial institutions need this money to get the economy back on track.

A Senate Republican leadership aide said Republicans want assurances from the Obama team that bailout funds will not be used to buoy specific industries, as it was for the auto industry by the Bush Administration. Even if those assurances are given it is unclear if enough Republicans would vote to release the money.

A vote on the resolution to block the funds could happen as early as Thursday in the Senate, though a Friday vote is more likely.


Filed under: Congress • stimulus plan
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. robert

    Start back pedaling. I think what's happing is the one's that voted .for the bailout may not be voted back in.

    January 14, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. Ob

    Now this is what is wrong with our country today..GOP.

    They still don't get it. Perhaps when they lose all of their seats, then they will figure it out.

    Its not about them...You are there to represent the people...IDIOTS.

    January 14, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. Salt & Pepper

    Oh yeah,... the answer is simple! THEY ARE NOT GOING TO BE IN CONTROL THIS TIME. PERIOD plain and simple!

    January 14, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  4. WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THIS IS SO SIMPLE!!!!!!!!!!

    INSTEAD OF A BAILOUT GIVING MONEY TO THE GOVERNMENT TO SPEND WHERE EVER AND CAN'T TRACE IT THE ANSWER IS VERY VERY SIMPLE!!!!!!!!!!

    LET THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NOT PAY TAXES OF ANY KIND FOR 12 MONTHS THAT WAY EVERYONE THAT WORKS WILL RECEIVE A BREAK!!!!

    THE PROBLEM IS THE OBAMA SUPPORTERS WILL NOT GO FOR THAT AND YOU KNOW WHY!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 14, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  5. No Incumbents 2010

    Sounds to me like some people in Congress listened to their constituents. I might have to change to Some Incumbents 2010.
    This is not a Rep. Or Dem. issue. This is a taxpayer issue. Someone has to pay for this. Just like "Free" healthcare. Why is the burden on the people for businesses that are failing. Why is it my responsibility as a taxpayer to bailout failures, who may or may not make it afterwards? And Mike @ 5:26 PM, that is how government is supposed to work, unlike Obama followers who believe he is pratically perfect in everyway, the government has what is called checks and balances. Or should I say it used to a few decades ago.

    January 14, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  6. Khelley

    First the republicans proposed the bailout pleading ardently that it was the way out of the economic mess. At that time, the election was going on and they wanted to look real to voters' eyes. Now they oppose it, because they lost the election. Therefore it's not a question that the bailout will fail or succeed, it's a question of political parties fighting to take and preventing each other to take credit for something that can make them look good to the eyes of voters. In the meantime, we, the people, got caught in the middle of this selfish poilical war, and we are the woundeds to be counted after the cease-fire.

    January 14, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  7. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    If the bailout money is linked to concerns of not being reelected than everyone should not have a problem adding (since it seems it is not included in the bailout from the lack of transparency) an amendment for specific transparency required for the total amount! Being angry and trying to put on the other side the burden of this bailout does not resolve anything beside continuing playing little politics and peole are and will get tired again of seeing such political games when the majority wants to see cooperation...I think everyone agrees to more transparency! As for the auto industry bailout, I do not think anyone would have won votes for all the jobs lost! So why is it all economic demands for actions now are most of tihe time link to will I get voted back or not! Sometimes we have to make decisions for the good of the whole country and not for an election. The second portion of the money that is not released should be in fact released with agreements of transparency and accountability that would show that people who had to foreclosure are getting real help from their government. The longer we wait for this help to trickle down to main street..the more everyone loses vote of confidence of being there for the people if that is the main concern!

    January 14, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  8. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    If the bailout money is linked to concerns of not being reelected than everyone should not have a problem adding (since it seems it is not included in the bailout from the lack of transparency) an amendment for specific transparency required for the total amount! Being angry and trying to put on the other side the burden of this bailout does not resolve anything beside continuing playing little politics and peole are and will get tired again of seeing such political games when the majority wants to see cooperation...I think everyone agrees to more transparency! As for the auto industry bailout, I do not think anyone would have won votes for all the jobs lost! So why is it all economic demands for actions now are most of the time link to will I get voted back or not! Sometimes we have to make decisions for the good of the whole country and not for an election. The second portion of the money that is not released should be in fact released with agreements of transparency and accountability that would show that people who had to foreclosure are getting real help from their government. The longer we wait for this help to trickle down to main street..the more everyone loses vote of confidence of being there for the people if that is the main concern!

    January 14, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  9. Idealist

    Why didn't we hear anything more about Bush's threat to impose martial law unless the bailout was approved???

    January 14, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  10. Tab Cocovillea

    Our famed politicians will provoke the American people into open revolt. Should the second part of the bailout go forward, expect angry people carrying torches heading for Washington.

    January 15, 2009 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
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