It seemed like only yesterday that we were hearing that the Bush administration was going to leave the second half of the TARP untouched for Barack Obama’s team to use.
So much for that idea. Bush now says he’s going to to tap the TARP…and will veto any attempts by Congress to turn him down. Apparently Obama’s on board.
Senior Bush administration officials are preparing to ask lawmakers for the second half of the $700 billion financial rescue package despite intense opposition in Congress and then have President Bush use his veto if the request is voted down, three sources familiar with the matter said.
The initiative, which is being coordinated with the Obama transition team, may be taken within days, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcement has been made.
Democratic Senate aides were notified in a meeting this afternoon that the request could come as soon as this weekend and that a vote could be held as soon as next week, congressional sources said.
Under the emergency rescue legislation approved by Congress in October, the administration must inform lawmakers that it wants access to the second instalment of $350 billion. Congress would have 15 days to reject the request before Treasury can begin to tap the funds.
Two quick questions.
- Can a president veto the “joint resolution” mechanism established in a law he has already signed? Did anyone know that the president would have veto power over a Congressional rejection of a TARP withdrawal? This is the first time we’ve heard this contemplated.*
- What financial crisis is so imminent that the second TARP tranche must be tapped RIGHT NOW? What aren’t they telling us?
Update: Our quick read of the TARP and relevant literature on joint resolutions does indeed suggest that the president can veto the joint resolution.
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