By a vote of 42-52 the Senate voted down a resolution to block the release of the remaining $350 billion in TARP funds. Democrats argued that the financial crisis will get worse and hurt the middle class without the additional funds, while Republicans who opposed the bill did not want to release the funds without more conditions and hearings.
After Sen. Dick Durbin spoke on the Senate floor in favor of releasing the funds to the incoming Obama administration, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) accused Durbin of giving the exact same speech that was given the first time in favor of the TARP funds. Vetter said, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
On Tuesday, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) said, “I think we will get the necessary votes.” He told reporters that he felt very confident in the passage of the bill, but CNN learned yesterday that six Republican senators who voted for the bill the first time, planned on voting to block the funds today.
Republicans who voted for the bill in September have been getting hammered by their constituents for supporting the bill. Republicans are also angry, because President Bush used a portion of the TARP funds to bailout the auto industry.
Harry Reid was the last person to speak to the Senate before the vote. He implored the Senate to release the funds and trust Barack Obama. Reid addressed his Republican colleagues and told them that this is the time that Democrats and Republicans need to move forward and do the right thing.
President elect Obama had promised to veto the block, because he intends to use $50-$100 billion of the funds for home foreclosure prevention.