And it looks like Obama and Bush are coordinating on this so Obama won’t have to veto the first piece of legislation he sees.
Under the emergency rescue legislation approved by Congress in October, the administration must inform lawmakers that it wants access to the second installment of $350 billion. Unless Congress passes a resolution rejecting the request within 15 days, the Treasury can begin to tap the funds. If Congress turns down the request, the president could veto the resolution and then the Treasury could proceed. The money would be blocked only if Congress overrides the veto, which would require a two-thirds majority in both chambers.
A congressional source said advocates of the plan are exploring whether there are enough votes in the Senate to sustain a veto. The first $350 billion has already been committed.
“There have been discussions between the administration and the transition about how to proceed should the president-elect determine that he wants to have those funds available on January 20,” said Robert Gibbs, spokesman for President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team. “No final decisions have been made, but we want to be ready to act if needed.”
Let’s face it, they wouldn’t be exploring this option if they didn’t think Obama needed the money. And opposition is apparently growing in Congress for a big recovery package on both sides and so Obama may have to tap into the TARP money to start the stimulus ASAP.
My guess is this would come in the form of “cramdowns” or mortgage readjustments that allow existing homeowners who may default to stay in their homes. And that’s good news for homeowners around the toxic mortgages because those homes won’t foreclose and drive the property values down even more.