Recent Press Releases

Senate Defeats Bipartisan Thune Amendment

Proposal Draws 13 Democrat Votes but Fails to Reach 60 Vote Threshol

January 21, 2010

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune issued the following statement after today’s vote of 53 to 45 on his amendment to end the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The amendment would prohibit further commitments of TARP funds and would mandate that all returned funds be used to lower our national debt. The amendment required 60 votes for passage and would have prevented $320 billion of unobligated TARP funds from being added to the national debt.

“As our nation’s fiscal health continues to decline under crushing debt, the Senate missed a golden opportunity to take a positive step,” said Thune. “Ending TARP would reduce our growing debt, but it appears that the majority of Democrats in the Senate is content to continue down a dangerous path. TARP has strayed far from its intended purpose, and without action on the part of Congress it will continue to be a slush fund for the Administration. Mounting debt threatens to crush our economy, but ending TARP would be a significant step toward addressing this growing problem.”

On Christmas Eve, the Senate voted 60-39 to increase the debt ceiling by $290 billion to $12.394 trillion. Even though the $290 billion increase to the debt limit was signed into law at the end of December, the measure currently before the Senate would raise the debt limit by another $1.9 trillion, this time to $14.294 trillion – the largest such increase in our nation’s history.

Recently, the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP released their January Oversight Report and the Panel noted that although TARP authority ends on October 3, 2010, any funds committed by that date, but not yet spent can still be spent under TARP past this deadline. This could create an indefinite time period for expenditures through TARP, creating a dangerous situation where Treasury bureaucrats could go on a late night spending spree on October 3, 2010 committing funds that will eventually have to be borrowed and added to our national debt, perhaps years down the road.

Last summer, Senator Thune also introduced the Government Ownership Exit Plan Act (S. 1242). The Government Ownership Exit Plan would end TARP authority and require the federal government to sell all the ownership interests in private companies that it has acquired through TARP.