January 14th, 2009
02:30 PM ET
11 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. Ed

    QUESTION: What ever happened to the Congressional Oversight Committee that was approved in this legislation?? That committee was to guarantee transparency and that the first $350B was spent as congress directed it. The only thing that has been transparent has been this invisible committee. What happened to the committe Nancy?

    January 14, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. Matt

    Duh...the second he said he'd veto it, the entire GOP said "ooooh, let's test him." Of course, the 3 mentioned above don't want to be named because they're spineless.

    January 14, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  3. I-DEMAND....

    I DEMAND THAT YOU OBEY MY WORD YOU LITTLE WASHINGTON

    POLIICIANS 0R ELSE I SHALL VETO YOU AND RENDER YOU GONE.

    OBAMA'S START TO UNIFY WASHINTON AND THE COUNTRY..

    TO CONTINUE ON JANUARY 21ST 2009.......

    January 14, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  4. chris@stl

    What is wrong with these knuckleheads ... Without this support, the banking system of this country will collapse.

    With Hank Paulson gone, the new administration will manage these funds wisely!

    January 14, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. Ben

    This makes a whole lot of sense...
    Bush screwed up (surprise!) with the first half, so let's not even give Obama a chance with the second half.

    January 14, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. Steve

    Somebody needs to account for the first $350B before handing out the second $350B

    January 14, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  7. G.R.I.T.S - Girl Raised in the South

    Surprise, surprise. It was okay to give the first $350 billion to their cronies with absolutely NO oversight, but this isn't okay because a Democratic President requested it. These Republicans make me sick. Can't do this, can't do that, but no viable alternatives offered by these "can't do" idiots.

    January 14, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  8. Trevor in VA

    Ed – –

    They just said there would be oversight. They didn't think anyone would actually hold them to it.

    January 14, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  9. DIZIZI31

    Because the first 350B was misappropriated is there concern for the 2nd under a new administration? Where is the Oversight Committee on this?

    January 14, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  10. Mike

    Here's a surprise. The Republican Congress critters rubber stamp whatever Bush demands, for 8 years, without the slightest measure of oversight or culpability. But as soon as a Democratic president takes over the office they'll grow backbones and become obstructionists and blame placers. For the good of the country...of course.

    January 14, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. dimes1

    South,

    Before you just keep spouting the typical angry Democratic slurs I want to remind you that the first and primary opposition comes from the Democrats. Of course you did not know this because you would rather blame Republicans as an outlet for your Democratic anger. Democrat + mean spirited

    January 14, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  12. CA Indie for Obama

    the dems are stupid....

    they should be lobbying for more oversight before releasing the next $350 billion. the repubs are scared since if oversight and restrictions are put in place, they risk losing a valuable contribution source.

    that leaves us up the creek without a paddle, doesn't it?

    January 14, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  13. donna

    They are ONLY voting against it now because there is a Democratic President..if McCain had won, they would have NO PROBLEM with there being no transparency...so Obama (and the rest of us) has to suffer because the GOP SUDDENLY obtained values/morals...HA!!!!

    January 14, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. Ken in Dallas

    That's ok. This will have consequences, though. Dow 6000, here we come.

    January 14, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  15. jaye

    The republicans are all talk and no solutions.
    I'm willing to bet that O will get the money.

    January 14, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  16. jaye

    Why don't the republicans ask their president what happened to the first 350 billion? They would rather whine and moan and groan and vote against whatever O ask for.
    Do the republicans have any ideas for the economy? NO!

    January 14, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  17. Blame the REPUBLICANS!!!

    .R.I.T.S – Girl Raised in the South January 14th, 2009 3:35 pm ET
    Surprise, surprise. It was okay to give the first $350 billion to their cronies with absolutely NO oversight, but this isn't okay because a Democratic President requested it. These Republicans make me sick. Can't do this, can't do that, but no viable alternatives offered by these "can't do" idiots.........DITTO!!!!

    January 14, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  18. Shana, Chicago

    This is ridiculous! I have always been against this bailout of the financial system. They are obviously incompetent since they screwed up with their own money, so why in the world would we give them tax payer's money to screw up with? If the economy really does need a bailout, then the money should be given directly to the American tax payers - we will do what is necessary to stimulate our economy (i.e. spend the money). This top-down crap doesn't work. It's time for a bottom-up philosophy. That's why I voted for Obama, but as far as I can see, he seems intent on continuing the "failed policies of George Bush". Please, scrap the bailout as it is, and give the money to the hardworking American tax payers...and not $500/yr either (no family will be helped with $41/month), we need at least $5000/yr of tax relief, then we will have $400/month to stimulate the economy with. Stop crossing your fingers and hoping that that incompetent bankers will get us into more personal debt. Thanks!

    January 14, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  19. Stacy from Leesburg VA

    If the GOP and opposing Democrats have a better idea on how to spend the funds, let’s hear it. I’d be curious to hear details of their proposed solutions and how they think the money should be allocated. But, if they are just going to be obstructionists, then they should go back home because we need to get this economy back in shape. Folks, if you are not part of the solution you are indeed part of the problem.

    January 14, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  20. obama-mama

    John McCain is probably the leader of the pack. Ha ha ha ha ha.Priceless

    January 14, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  21. judesuper

    Who cares what the republics have to say? They had eight years of saluting bush. Now they are whinning because bush messed up everything and they are in the minority. boo-hoo

    January 14, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. Bob

    Comment by stacy: Folks, if you are not part of the solution you are indeed part of the problem.

    Well stacy, you are part of the problem. There should be no bailout for any greedy CEO's that have run their companys into the ground and who still get a 30 million dollar bonus. Enough of the welfare society pushed by the politicians and no JUST SAY NO to Obama's socialist agenda. Let GM fail and stop paying these CEO's those rediculas salaries and bonuses. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. MY GREAT GREAT GREAT GRANDCHILDREN WILL STILL BE PAYING ON THIS. If you cant afford it dont buy it.

    January 14, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. richard

    Democrats caused it, let them pay for it out of their money

    January 14, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. victor

    as a histoy major... i have to say the congress is asking for a revolt, they dont represent us, most are ultra rich and could care less if the econ tanks even worse..they dont do ANYTHING! but fight , fight , fight
    "fall of rome" people... look it up

    all the older americas i kno just shurg their arms and say "thats just the way it is" why? it hasnt always been this way... we allow it

    i dont care, dem, gop, i've lived in the deep south and the west. both have good people that arent as different as many think. we are all getting screwed!

    they dont play by the rules that you and i have to? sooooo what do we do? vote them ALL out in 2010? all as in even our own home state reps!

    January 14, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. Frank

    How can the Republicans believe that it will be simply lost on the American people that they supported the bailout before the election (when they were going to be the ones to spend it) but now that there is a Democrat in the White House they oppose it.

    Could there be any more transparent evidence that they want Obama to fail and that they are willing to destroy the financial system that we all depend on the make it happen?

    January 14, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
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