As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lack Of Blockage

So Obama will get his bailout money after a Senate effort to stop it didn't pass.

The Senate voted narrowly today to permit President-elect Barack Obama to spend another $350 billion to stabilize the fragile U.S. financial system.

On a vote of 52 to 42, the Senate defeated a resolution that would have blocked the second half of the money from a $700 billion financial rescue program from flowing to the U.S. Treasury Department.

The vote was a victory for Obama, who made personal appeals to deeply skeptical lawmakers in recent days to try to rally support. Obama's economic team says the money is urgently needed, along with a massive spending package, to restore health to financial markets and the slumping economy.

The Senate's defeat of the resolution to disapprove the funds means the money will be available to Obama about a week after he takes office Tuesday.

Elena Schor at TPM has a good rundown of who voted what way, including the release of the "a-hole caucus" in the Senate, as Evan Bayh and Blanche Lincoln voted for the bailout under Bush but against giving Obama the money. I don't think that's totally defensible.

Meanwhile, the House is set to pass a pretty strong oversight bill, written by Barney Frank, that would restrict how this new batch of TARP money would be spent. One very good amendment to the bill just passed:

I sound like a broken record, but it's a shame that the Senate didn't take up its own bill setting conditions on the new administration as it spends the cash. Especially since one of the two amendments adopted this afternoon was Rep. Patrick Murphy's (D-PA) plan to require the Federal Reserve to reveal the mysterious terms and contracts governing its purchase of mortgage-backed securities.

"We are only just starting to get details about the contracts with the Troubled Asset Relief Program and that is only after the threat of a subpoena - we cannot let history repeat itself," Murphy said after his amendment was unanimously approved.

The Senate is not bothering to pass such a bill. If there's still time, they ought to be pushed to have a vote.

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