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TARP reform bill takes another step forward
WASHINGTON (1/16/09)—In an action perhaps meant to be more symbolic than real, the House voted Thursday on amendments to a bill intended to provide the incoming Obama administration greater guidance on the use of the second installment of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds. The House voted 273 to 152 in favor of a “manager’s amendment” that could facilitate a vote on Rep. Barney Frank’s bill to modify TARP (H.R. 384). A final vote on the legislation could come as early as next week. The bill, titled the "TARP Reform and Accountability Act," was introduced just last Friday. There is no comparable bill in the Senate and Frank himself has said he does not expect his bill to become law. “The House wants to sent a message to the new administration regarding how they would like to see the next $350 billion spent," Ryan Donovan said. He is vice president for legislative affairs for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). As reported earlier, the Frank bill includes an amendment that would provide a limited form of alternative capital to help credit unions participate in government assistance programs. "The manager's amendment includes language that would permit credit unions to count TARP assistance as net worth," Donovan said. "Even though this provision is not likely to become law through this legislation, we believe it will strengthen our hand at Treasury," Donovan said. CUNA has been addressing all levels of government, seeking credit union access to government economic relief programs. CUNA has noted that even without expectations of being signed into law, a House vote for the Frank bill would make it clear that it wants credit unions to have access and is willing to change the law if the Treasury Department doesn't facilitate such changes in its TARP plan.

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