WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe said Saturday that Congress was not told the truth about the bailout of the nation’s financial system and should take back what is left of the $700 billion “blank check” it gave the Bush administration.
“It is just outrageous that the American people don’t know that Congress doesn’t know how much money he (Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson) has given away to anyone,” the Oklahoma Republican told the Tulsa World.
“It could be to his friends. It could be to anybody else. We don’t know. There is no way of knowing.”
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Inhofe’s comments, unusually pointed even for a senator known for being blunt, come on the heels of Paulson’s shift in how he thinks the bailout funds should be spent.
Last week the Treasury secretary announced he was abandoning his plan to free up the nation’s credit system by buying up toxic assets from troubled financial institutions. Instead, Paulson wants to take a more direct action on the consumer credit front.
“He was able to get this authority from Congress predicated on what he was going to do, and then he didn’t do it,” Inhofe said.