Entries in Congressional Oversight Panel (1)


Treasury Official Praises TARP, Expresses Concern for Housing Sector

Joe Sohm/VisionsofAmerica/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In the final hearing held by the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP, Treasury official Timothy Massad commended TARP for providing stability to a tumbling financial system but admitted work still remains, especially in the housing sector.

“TARP helped prevent catastrophic collapse of our financial system and economy.  In the fall of 2008, we were staring into the abyss.  Now we are on the road to recovery,” said Massad, who is acting assistant secretary for the Office of Financial Stability.  “TARP was not a solution to all of our economic problems and there is still more work ahead.  Unemployment remains unacceptably high and the housing market remains weak.”

“I’m very focused on our housing programs.  We have not helped as many people as we would like, but I think the programs are very important in continuing to help tens of thousands, and I’m very concerned about efforts to eliminate those.  I think without those programs many, many Americans who otherwise could be helped into an affordable mortgage will not have an opportunity to do so.”

Massad admitted the government did not possess the necessary tools to stem the crisis when it arose, prompting the implementation of TARP.

Democrats in Congress passed a sweeping Wall Street reform bill since 2008, but there is disagreement over whether it would be able to avert another financial crisis.

Estimates suggest the TARP program will cost taxpayers $25 billion, far lower than the initial projection of $341 billion.  Congress originally authorized $700 billion for TARP and the government expects to spend up to $475 billion of that allotment.  $411 billion has been disbursed thus far, of which the government has recovered $277 billion.

Despite this costing taxpayers less than expected, some witnesses and members of the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP, which has operated for the past two years and held its final hearing Friday, expressed skepticism over identifying TARP as an absolute success when unemployment rates remain high and foreclosure looms for many households.

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