Chris Dodd must have woken up this morning and finally realized he is the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. He announced today that he is blocking the release of any further TARP funds ($350 billion remains in federal coffers) until the limits on executive pay and the help for struggling homeowners that were promised around the time of TARP’s passage are made into a reality. (A rough paraphrase of Hank Paulson from October 2008: “Yeah, yeah, whatever you say. No golden parachutes. Money for families in foreclosure. Fine. Just please give us the damn money.”)
Dodd’s a little late to this party. After all, half the TARP funds have been distributed and it’s not clear that any oversight was used, any limitation on executive pay was enacted, or any help has trickled down to the folks who are actually losing their homes. And, to be honest, he’s a little weak in the spine. Barney Frank, Dodd’s equivalent in the House, is standing behind legislation that would improve the bailout program while Dodd is reportedly ready to let the process move forward unchanged following a stern letter to the Obama people. Presumably Dodd would hold a press conference and say that the transition office has given him all the assurances he needs. Which is ridiculous, of course, because Paulson snowed him in exactly the same way.
By the way, is TARP working for you? It’s working for us.