U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) today offered an alternative to the majority’s “permanent bailout” banking regulatory bill, H.R. 4173. The Congressman’s motion to recommit would have shut down the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), required that all TARP funds repaid to the Treasury be used to decrease our nation’s burgeoning deficits, and reduced the debt limit by the amount saved by ending TARP.


“I call this motion-to-recommit the ‘Troubled Taxpayer Relief Program Act’ because it takes an important step towards getting government out of the bailout business and curbing excessive Washington spending,” Congressman Dent said. “TARP was originally enacted as a temporary plan to address an extraordinary crisis in our financial markets as a result of the collapse of financial firms that the government said were ‘too big to fail.’ Those who voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, which created TARP, did so with the assurance that the money would be returned to the taxpayers.”


The Administration has extended the TARP program to October 3, 2010, which has opened the door to efforts by Democrats in Congress to begin spending unallocated and repaid TARP funds for programs unrelated to the financial emergency.


“Unfortunately, this bill [H.R. 4173] not only fails to end the TARP now that the emergency in the financial markets has abated—it also turns TARP into a revolving slush fund to pay for the Majority’s political, economic, and social agenda,” Congressman Dent said. “Failing to honor the original intent of TARP and repay the taxpayers is an irresponsible breach of trust that we are committed to stopping.”

 (Watch Video of Congressman Dent's floor speech here)

“I am disappointed that this important alternative which would have begun the process of putting our fiscal house in order and inspiring confidence in the private-sector, by shutting down TARP, returning the unused funds to the taxpayers, and lowering the national debt limit was defeated in spite of strong bi-partisan support,” Congressman Dent said.


Congressman Dent voted against H.R. 4173, Rep. Barney Frank’s banking regulatory bill that would provide for a “permanent bailout” fund, create yet another federal agency called the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, and also establish a government “credit czar” to dictate which financial products can and cannot be available to American consumers.


In an effort to provide stronger consumer protections, Congressman Dent authored and was successful in adding an amendment to H.R. 4173 that encourages mortgage lending institutions to provide loan applicants with a simplified summary of their loan contracts, including an easy to read list of the basic loan terms, payment information, the existence of prepayment penalties or balloon payments, and escrow information. Congressman Dent introduced the amendment based on recommendations that were provided to him by local community bankers.