Sanders Opposes Bailout

WASHINGTON, January 15 - Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement after the Senate went along with releasing the second half of a $700 billion bailout fund:

"Today I voted to withhold more funding from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. I have deep respect for President-elect Obama and I very much appreciate the difficult job he has in trying to remedy the economic damage done by the Bush administration's reckless policies.

"Nonetheless, I have strong reservations about continuing this bailout without strong taxpayer protections written into law. I also object to using middle-class taxpayer money to bail out the exact same financial institutions whose greed and recklessness led to the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

"Furthermore, we need a major investigation into how this financial crisis occurred and who exactly was responsible."

Under a provision built into the bailout bill when it passed in October, Congress could have rejected the administration's request to spend the second $350 billion if both the Senate and House had voted to stop it. The Senate voted 52-43 against blocking access to the money.