WASHINGTON, D.C. — An amendment offered by Rep Erik Paulsen that would have ended the $700 billion Wall Street bailout and used any remaining money to pay down the national debt failed today.
The 3rd District Republican’s amendment was defeated in the Financial Services Committee by a 30-37 vote, largely along party lines. Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann voted yes, and Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison voted no. The committee was marking up the Financial Stability Improvement Act of 2009.
The Troubled Asset Relief Program was signed into law at the height of the financial crisis last year and is used by the government to bail out troubled financial institutions. It expires on Dec. 31, though the administration has the option to extend it to October 2010. About $200 billion under the program remains to be allocated.
“Taxpayers are tired of the revolving door of bailouts and deficit spending in Washington,” Paulsen said in a statement following the vote. “TARP funding is simply becoming walking-around money for the government, and today my colleagues missed an important opportunity to bring this program to a close.”
Legislation similar to Paulsen’s amendment has been introduced in the Senate by South Dakota Republican John Thune. Paulsen said he now plans to introduce stand-alone legislation to end the program at the end of the year.