[Congressional Record Volume 155, Number 12 (Wednesday, January 21, 2009)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E117]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                               speech of

                        HON. FORTNEY PETE STARK

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                       Thursday, January 15, 2009

       The House in Committee of the Whole House on the State of 
     the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 384) to 
     reform the Troubled Assets Relief Program of the Secretary of 
     the Treasury and ensure accountability under such Program, 
     and for other purposes:

  Mr. STARK. Mr. Chair, I rise today in support of H.R. 384, the TARP 
Reform and Accountability Act.
  I am one of the few members on my side of the aisle to vote against 
the TARP bill both times it came before this House. I did so because I 
believed that it rewarded the very entities that built the financial 
house of cards that has come crashing down. The Bush Administration 
pressed this body to act with all haste based on faulty information 
about the problems we faced and with scant explanation for how the 
resources requested would be used. The bill left too much discretion to 
the Secretary, and provided too little oversight of the historic outlay 
of taxpayer funds. I compared the Bush Administration's rush to bail 
out Wall Street to their rush to invade Iraq. I take no pleasure in 
being right on this score--but the management of the first outlay of 
TARP funds has been erratic and inefficient. In fact, the execution of 
this bailout provides the perfect thumbnail of the eight years of the 
Bush Administration: they didn't have a plan, they didn't do what they 
said they were going to do, they didn't take care of struggling 
homeowners, but made sure to look after the interests of big business. 
The mission was not accomplished.
  I do not support the release of additional TARP funds and will vote 
to withhold those funds if such a bill comes before the House. Today, 
however, we have a chance to make a bad law better and that deserves 
our support. The reforms in this bill are the conditions that should 
have been included in the original package. This bill requires 
reporting by institutions that receive taxpayer money and requires 
Treasury to reach an agreement with institutions that take taxpayer 
funds on exactly how those funds will be used. This bill also limits 
the ability for those institutions to use taxpayer funds to pay their 
executives big bonuses that encourage short-term risk taking.
  Most importantly, this bill mandates that the Treasury Department 
commit significant funds--up to $100 billion--to foreclosure mitigation 
and keeping people in the homes they own or rent.
  Our Nation is in a deep recession and people at all economic levels 
are feeling the pain. People struggling to make ends meet are having a 
tough time understanding why our government is using tax money to bail 
out the bank that is foreclosing on their home. The first $350 billion 
is gone with very little to show for it. I would prefer that Congress 
go back to the drawing board and develop a comprehensive program to 
save people's houses without rewarding the institutions that made bad 
loans. In the absence of such action, I support H.R. 384, because we 
must ensure that at least some of the second $350 billion of taxpayer 
dollars goes to help people stay in their homes and weather this