January 12th, 2009
08:06 AM ET

White House may soon request access to additional bailout funds

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/05/obama.economic.stimulus/art.obama.meeting.gi.jpg]

Dana Bash
CNN Sr. Congressional Correspondent

Congressional Democrats were notified Friday afternoon by the White House that they could get a request soon for the remaining $350 billion of funds from that massive $700 billion financial bailout package, a Democratic leadership source confirms to CNN.

According to this Democratic source, who did not want to be named because no decisions have been made, Democratic leaders are not sure if the votes would be there to block president bush from accessing the funds.

Although there is widespread criticism of the way the Bush administration has handled the rescue program, the source said that if President-elect Obama signs onto the Bush request, it may make it easier for Democrats to vote yes.

Under the bailout legislation approved by Congress in October, the administration must inform Congress that it wants to access the second installment of $350 billion. Unless Congress passes a resolution rejecting the request within 15 days, the Treasury department can begin tapping the funds. If Congress rejects the request, the president could veto the resolution, allowing Treasury to proceed. If the president vetoed the resolution, Congress would have to override the veto to stop the administration from accessing the money. That requires a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate.

As congressional Democrats assess the situation, and a possible vote as early as next week, the Bush administration is sending a public warning down Pennsylvania avenue.

"If the President does decide to notify Congress of the intention to access the second $350 billion on behalf of President-elect Obama, our shared goal (both administrations) will be to defeat a resolution of disapproval if Congress goes that route," an administration official told CNN Saturday.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said Friday that the administration has had discussions with the Obama transition team on how to proceed, "should the President-elect determine that he would like President Bush to notify Congress on his behalf of the intent to use the remaining $350 billion so that it will be available early in the new Administration."

But, she added, "No final decisions have been made."

Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Economy • Finance • Raw Politics
soundoff (One Response)
  1. From Canada

    The Dems better find a way to block Bush's request for the remainder of the Bail Out Funds if they want to maintain any level of credability within their Administration. And Bush should be totally ashamed of himself asking for the remainder of funds given that he doesn't even know where the former Bail The way the Republicans carelessly hand out tax payers dollars they must have a printing press at their disposal !

    January 12, 2009 at 10:39 am |