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.