January 14th, 2009
02:30 PM ET
12 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. j daniels

    we the american public will remember you all come reelection time we are keeping tabs on you dems an repubs remember our votes count and you be on the outs we are tired of all the bull

    January 14, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. mike

    Let me get this straight....the GOP lets the first half of $700 Billion go to help banks and Wall St....the GOP grows a FINANCIAL backbone when a Democratic President wants to help the average American with the second half.

    Makes a lot of sense to me.....the GOP is saying "let's get back to conservative spending.......right after all of our buddies are taken care of"

    What a crock!

    I will never ever vote for a GOP candidate ever again.....completely gutless and out of touch with REAL AMERICA!!!!!!

    January 14, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. Rick

    I hope the Iowa Republicans vote against it and honestly hope the Iowa Democrates do the same. The vote should be against the rest of the bailout money. If the represenatives from Iowa want to play with our tax dollars without tracking where it goes then I say its time to VOTE THEM OUT the next time around and put some responsible leadership in place.

    January 14, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  4. Brady

    Good! It's looking more and more like this $700 billion bailout was a mistake to begin with. Both President Bush and Congress have failed to make this thing work, and at this point, they're just wasting taxpayers' money.

    January 14, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. Al

    Since the first $350B had such a dramatic impact on the economy, I can understand the hesitation on both sides of the aisle to throw another $350B in the fire.

    How much will we need to piss away before the citizens understand that government spending is not the answer to this problem?

    January 14, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. CJ

    Why not use that money to pay off the mortgages of those in need. That way, the banks will collect the money for the mortgages and no one will lose his/her home. That should be enough money to pay off all the mortgages of those making less than $100,000 per year as those people do not live in 5 million dollar condos. Seems to me that is the only way money can be released to benefit those who truly need it. It did not work releasing it to the banks to help those in foreclosure crisis; they were too greedy. Sounds like a win/win to me.

    January 14, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. Terry

    Every one of the complaining Republicans urged us to vote for Bush in 2000 and 2004. They voted for all those out of balance budgets. They voted for deregulation of corporate behavior. Conservative leadership in government and in the private sector CAUSED our problems.

    Now they pretend to be indignant with the people who are trying to solve the problems they caused. Conservatives remind me of unrepetent teenagers who wrecked the family car and are then angry that they will have to take the bus to school for a while.

    January 14, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. Bea

    what's new.......

    January 14, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  9. cobra

    I wonder if there are still a handful of senators that still have this country at heart. Hope there is enough to block this stupid paying out of our tax dollars.

    January 14, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. AP

    *sigh* Do the Repubs have any better ideas???? They can't just block w/o offering an alternative. Well, they can but it makes them look like bitter, angry punks.

    January 14, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  11. legal in nc

    They're voting against the bailout because Reid and his goons are trying to take out the tax cuts for middle America and small businesses That would be most of us on this blog.

    Along with the fact that there is no oversight for it just as there was none on the first $350 billion.

    If you're going to be upset with someone be upset with Reid and those that think like him.

    January 14, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  12. LIB luv amnesty

    i wish i get free money from messiah...because i believing lie,CNN=MSNBC

    January 14, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. K. Parks

    I think the Republicans should vote against the bail-out and any other give away of monies to anybody. Let see where the economy is in two years when it time to vote for the remaining Republican hold-outs. Be interested to see where they will stand on the issues then. Funny now they can vote for $350 billion for CEO of wall street but think that giving tax payers money is a waste.

    Congress has the ability to put checks and balances on the rest of the money. Why not just do their jobs.

    January 14, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. My2Cents

    I can't wait until 12 p.m., Tuesday, January 20, 2009.

    January 14, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  15. Mike

    Forget Democrat and Republican for a moment. Giving out the first $350B and not knowing where it went and seeing no good results is outragous to start with. Stimulate the economy–Take the money and send a check of EQUAL

    January 14, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  16. Sweetie


    We can't afford it!

    Future generations are going to be saved after all.

    This complete madness needs to stop!

    January 14, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  17. Mike

    For a moment forget Democrat and Republican–just talk Americans and fellow citizens. We have a group of people that just gave away $350 B of OUR money and don't know where it went and can not show that we are doing any better for it. Instead of handing over these tremendous sums to banks, poorly run large businesses, and so forth start thinking about the majority of Americans. Stimulate the economy by taking these huge sums and send each TAX PAYING citizen an equal amount. If you like make a cut off at say $250,000 a year income–they aren't hurting. This money will be in the hands of people that need it and as they use it to reduce their debts on credit cards, car loans, mortgages, etc the money will flow back into the financial institutions. If poorly managed large businesses go bankrupt let them, and then they can reorganize with a new bunch of execs hopefully and start on a better plan.

    January 14, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  18. J.P.

    Here's a novel idea that both right and left could appreciate:
    How about NO BAILOUTS for ANYONE!
    ...regardless of position, rank, political influence, job title, income, etc.

    No bailouts for CEOs and No bailouts for dunces who bought half-million dollar homes on "foodstamp mortgages."

    If you're stupid with your own money, or that of your investors, you get the wonderful opportunity to FAIL and learn a lesson in the process. The most important and valuable lessons in life are the ones that are most painful. If you don't feel the pain (whether balloon-mortgage buffoons or the Losers running Lehman), you'll fall into familiar patterns, and you'll be back again asking for ANOTHER handout.

    "Right" this country by allowing failures to fail, and build REAL, concrete prosperity.

    January 14, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  19. Matt

    Hand GOP fatcat cronies $350B with little oversight from the Bush administration? GOP is all about it.

    Hand GOP fatcat cronies $350B with tight oversight from the Obama administration? GOP is opposed.

    Anyone else seeing a pattern here?

    January 14, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  20. Matt

    @ LIB luv amnesty

    Geez...is the GOP outsourcing its bloggers?

    January 14, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  21. ran

    Republicans playing the same old game. Maybe when they have lost the rest of their seats in 2010 they will get it.

    January 14, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  22. Samuel

    GOP is not in a position to block anything anymore...

    January 14, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  23. Anonymous

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

    January 14, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  24. combat medic

    Thought I should mention a couple of points, since the majority of respondents seem to be salivating over the concept that the Republicans are being obstructionists exclussively because there is a new incoming Democratic president.

    1) The House and Senate have been controlled by the Democratic party for the last two years; so blame for a serious lack of congressional oversight with the first $350 billion has to be placed, at least mostly, on the majority party.

    2) The majority of those opposed to the immediate release of the next $350 billion are Democrats. This article is simply saying there is a growing number of Republicans beginning to agree that these funds need to be monitored more closely... something that should have been done in the first place.

    Let's not all jump on the partisan bandwagons just yet, it's far too easy to blame instead of reason.

    January 14, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  25. Engineers & MBA's ... Not Lawyers ... in Congress

    So these idiot Republican lawyers in Congress weren't smart enough to guarantee that the money be applied as the people wanted.

    Now these non-business minded members simply want to say NO because they aren't smart enough to figure out how to say yes and guide the result.

    Engineers and MBA business executives have to solve problems for a living. Lawyers only create problems. They should not be in Congress

    January 14, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
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