|Amendment to Auto Rescue Bill requires recipients of temporary government assistance to publicly report increased lending|
Rep. Green joins Rep. LaTourette in adding amendment to enhance transparency and accountability in Emergency Lending Program
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On December 10, 2008, Congressman Al Green (D-TX) joined Congressman Steven LaTourette (R-OH) in passing a bipartisan amendment to the Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act. This proposal was the only amendment included in the auto industry restructuring package. The amendment enhances transparency in the lending provided for through the Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act or through the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) included in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act passed through Congress and signed into law in October of this year. This amendment has also been introduced in bill form by the two congressmen as H.R. 7334, the “TARP Accountability Act.”
The LaTourette-Green Amendment, which passed the House by a 403-0 vote, with one member voting present, requires that insured depository institutions that receive assistance through the TARP or through the Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act disclose in their quarterly financial reports the amount of increases in their new lending that are attributable to the assistance provided through these bills. If the depository institutions are unable to specifically document how much of the increases in lending are attributable to the emergency government assistance, they will instead be required to report their total increase in new loans.
The amendment was introduced in the wake of growing apprehension that some recipients of this aid may be using the government funds for their companies’ gain instead of increasing lending, as was intended.
“The American people are demanding transparency from the companies that have benefited from this extraordinary government assistance,” said Congressman Green. “They want to know whether the assistance that we have provided is being used for its intended purpose of reinvigorating our economy. We must do all that we can to make sure that consumers making purchases, families buying homes, and businesses seeking to expand are able to access the credit that they need.”
The Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act, which passed the House by a 237-170 vote, moved on to the Senate, where it died after a procedural vote of 52-35, short of the 60 required votes for passage. The Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act would have provided $15 billion in emergency bridge loans for troubled automakers and required that the automakers institute restructuring plans to ensure that they will be able to remain financially viable in the years to come.
“Our economy is experiencing great stress, with record increases in unemployment, persistently high rates of home foreclosures, and millions of Americans unable to access the credit that they need,” said Congressman Green. “We must do everything that we can to get the optimum from these important government programs. This amendment will do more than encourage lenders to do their part, it will give the American people confidence that our lenders are working for the benefit of us all.”