Monday, December 22, 2008
President George W. Bush has made no decision yet on whether to ask Congress to release the second half of the $700 billion of funds it approved to stabilize U.S. financial institutions, but it will likely be needed by February, the White House said on Monday.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson called on Friday for Congress to release the second $350 billion of the Troubled Asset Relief Funds after Bush announced a decision to use some of the money as emergency loans to ailing U.S. automakers.
The first $350 billion was virtually exhausted before Bush announced the decision to loan $17.4 billion to carmakers in an effort to stave off a collapse that would have cost hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“I think that it’s clear from the auto loan announcement on Friday that additional funds for TARP (Trouble Assets Relief Program) will be needed as early as February,” White House spokesman Tony Fratto said. “And so it’s possible that we could be the ones to ask for it and it’s possible the next administration. But no decision has been made on that.”
“The president will make a decision based on what the needs of the program are and what he’s hearing from Secretary (Henry) Paulson and what they need going forward,” he said.