Congressman Brian Bilbray (CA-50) speaks with FOX News Business’ David Asman about how the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds are not to be used as a general slush fund. To view the video segment on Congressman Bilbray’s YouTube Channel, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kI7XC1uS38Y.
David Asman, FOX News Business Anchor: “The other question raised today is whether President Obama intends to take over hundreds of billions of dollars from the t.a.r.p. business line and use it without congressional approval for whatever he sees fit. Our next guest may have a thing or two to say: Brian Bilbray, Republican Congressman from California. Did this come as a shock to you when you heard it?”
Congressman Bilbray: “Not a total shock. Just because… you have to understand that the president’s people are coming from the position there’s never enough money spent by washington and I have a feeling they forget the fact there was a committment made that whatever money was saved or returned from t.a.r.p. would go into paying off the deficit… that was created by the t.a.r.p..”
DA: “Well, it’s not like there is a cash, a pile of cash around, that they can dip into and say okay this is the t.a.r.p. cash. Correct me if I’m wrong — I thought the whole t.a.r.p. thing — thing was a line of credit to be used if necessary.”
CB: “Well, it was. Trouble is what we’re talking about. There was a line of committed funds that still wasn’t used the way it was originally promised to be made by the previous administration and now this administration is looking to use this as an abstract slush fund for a new proposal. It is very frustrating for a lot of people who say this showing — shows you there’s no end to a government program once it is created… even one that supposedly is a money in, money out program.”
DA: “What I love is the magical accounting where somehow lower than expected losses in t.a.r.p. creates additional resources. I mean, that’s the kind of accounting you haven’t heard since enron.”
CB: “Oh, absolutely. In fact people went to jail in the private sector for running this kind of accounting. You have to remember this is all being done under the shadow of the announcement this morning that in 2013 we could lose our triple A rating as a nation, that we could be paying huge sums of increased interest on the debt. This is one of those things we have to keep an eye on while those of us in Washington, and especially the White House, are making a lot of new promises without ever knowing how they’re going pay for it.”
DA: “The other thing about it the law about t.a.r.p. says t.a.r.p.’s lending and purchasing authority is going to expire on december 31st… only a couple weeks from now… and yet the president said we are going to wind down t.a.r.p.. That seems to be a mixed message. It is already winding down or it is supposed to in two weeks. Do you think he is planning to extend it beyond that december 31st deadline?”
CB: “I think absolutely. I think you read into those words exactly. The signal he’s sending and that is again, once you create a program it never sunsets. You always find the excuse to count. So because you have to remember: people come to Washington, normally, a great percentage of people come to Washington to consolidate power under them. That means having Washington control this capital rather than allow it, you know, to be working in the private sector where our founding fathers thought it was supposed to be done. And once you create this program there’s always an excuse to extend it a little farther, a little longer, and that’s a scary concept.”
DA: “Congressman we have run out of time but I’ve got to ask, because the idea was supposedly put in the president’s head by richard, the AFL-CIO head, this is mid-november “the wall street journal” had an article saying he had suggested the president… did this idea come from the union chief?”
CB: “Sure sounds like it. If you really want to talk about something for small business you hit on it. Let’s do regulatory reform. Let’s regulate and control government’s impact on small business. I go home to my wife, who is a small business person, and she reminds me every time I go just exactly what a huge burden we’re putting on the little guys who are createing the majority of the jobs in this country.”
DA: “Brian Bilbray, Republican from Congress. Good to see you congressman. Thanks for being here. Appreciate it.
CB: “Great to be with you.”