Stop the Bailout

Senator Bernie Sanders said today he will introduce legislation to stop the release of a $350-billion second round of the Wall Street bailout. Sanders, who voted against the $700-billion package Congress approved in October, said he has serious concerns about how the Bush administration and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson are spending the bailout money that was already released. He also said it was unacceptable that the oversight provisions in the bill were ignored. "I have very serious conce

Senator Bernie Sanders said today he will introduce legislation to stop the release of a $350-billion second round of the Wall Street bailout. Sanders, who voted against the $700-billion package Congress approved in October, said he has serious concerns about how the Bush administration and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson are spending the bailout money that was already released. He also said it was unacceptable that the oversight provisions in the bill were ignored. "I have very serious concerns as to how the Bush administration is spending the first $350 billion they were provided. The second $350 billion tranche must not be spent in the same way," Sanders said.

"The administration's plans as to how the money should be spent appear to be changing on a daily basis. Meanwhile, they are operating in secrecy, ignoring the oversight provisions of the legislation and, with dubious legality, are changing long-established rules by providing huge tax breaks for the banking industry above and beyond the bailout.

"I also strongly object to any of this bailout money being used for executive bonuses, dividends, mergers or acquisitions," Sanders added.

"Instead of continuing to bail out Wall Street, we should focus on economic actions which will directly impact the middle class and working families of this country.

"We should use the second $350 billion tranche to create millions of good paying jobs rebuilding our crumbling bridges, roads, culverts, schools and water systems. We can also create millions of jobs by moving away from foreign oil and fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energies," the senator said.

UPDATE: The Associated Press reports that "congressional officials said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson passed the word over the weekend that he intends to leave $350 billion untouched when the administration leaves office on Jan. 20. That would mean the incoming Obama administration would decide whether and how the funds should be spent."