Cole Introduces Taxpayer-Protecting Czar and TARP Amendments
"Defeating these Amendments is a Disservice to the American People"
WASHINGTON - Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) recently introduced two amendments during a conference committee on the FY2010 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill.
Cole's first amendment would have prevented the Treasury from re-spending TARP funds that banks have repaid and prohibited the Secretary of Treasury from extending the TARP program beyond the end of 2009. Cole's second amendment would have prohibited funding for czars that do not have statutory authorizations - unless the President certifies the czar will respond to requests from Congress for testimony and information. Cole's amendments were defeated on a party line vote in conference committee.
Cole's Comments on czars, TARP and the amendments:
"The President has brought in dozens of czars without the advice and consent of the Senate. These individuals perform duplicative duties, waste money and are not held accountable. My amendment was an effort to apply real transparency in government and stop the proliferation of czars by the Obama administration."
"Secretary Geithner has said that our economy has moved from crisis to recovery. But our nation's debt is still over $11 trillion. Our country's enormous debt is just as much of a threat to the fiscal stability of our nation as the troubles of private companies that received TARP monies were. Preventing the Treasury from extending the TARP program and stopping the program's repaid funds from being re-spent are important provisions that should have been passed."
Cole's Comments on the conference committee process:
"I knew when I offered my amendments that they were unlikely to be adopted. However, I think it's critical that we start a bipartisan dialogue on these topics. I'm proud every House Republican on the conference committee saw the wisdom of these amendments. And I'm also pleased the Appropriations Chairman, David Obey of Wisconsin, said he was 'half persuaded' by my argument that any money repaid to the TARP fund should not be reused by the executive branch for other purposes. I'm hopeful that in the months ahead we can continue to discuss these issues and arrive at the bipartisan consensus that recycling TARP funds and appointing unsupervised, so-called czars are dangerous overreaches by the executive power. Frankly, I suspect my Democrat colleagues are as uneasy about the abuse of executive power as I am."
After a bill passes the House and the Senate it moves to a special conference committee where selected members of Congress are able to debate and reconcile the legislation's differences. Once the differences are resolved, a conference report is put together and both chambers must once again vote on and approve the legislation. This was Cole's first time to serve on a conference committee.