Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today offered an amendment to the Small Business Job Creation and Access to Capital Act (S.2869) during the Senate Small Business Committee’s markup of the bill. Senator Thune’s amendment would prohibit the use of funds made available under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) from being diverted to fund small business loans. Senator Thune’s amendment was included in a group of amendments known as the manager’s amendment, which passed by a vote of 17-1.

“Congress did not create TARP to be a revolving slush fund for the administration or Congress to continuously dole out on a whim,” said Thune. “Our ballooning national debt requires immediate attention, and resolving that problem is where TARP funds should be directed.

“I have been and will continue to support efforts to ensure small businesses have access to the capital they need, especially during these difficult economic times. However, I am pleased my colleagues recognize the need to do so without attempting to use TARP funds that were intended for a completely different purpose.”

The Small Business Job Creation and Access to Capital Act extends increased loan amounts, higher guarantees, and the elimination of borrower fees for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) two most popular lending programs.

President Obama has recently announced the possibility of using TARP funds to pay for such lending programs. Senator Thune has been a leading advocate for using returned TARP funds to pay down the ballooning federal debt and preventing additional spending of unused TARP funds. Last month, Senator Thune introduced legislation that would have denied the Treasury Secretary the authority to extend TARP beyond its scheduled expiration of December 31st. However, Senate Democrats blocked consideration of the Thune proposal on December 9th, resulting in Secretary Geithner submitting a letter to Congress extending TARP to October 3, 2010. In June, Senator Thune introduced the Government Ownership Exit Plan Act, which would require the federal government to sell its ownership interests in private companies by the summer of 2010.