McHenry named chair of new oversight subcommitteePosted by Staff on December 21, 2010
By John Miller
Rep. Patrick McHenry, re-elected to his fourth term as the 10th Congressional District’s representative last month, has been named chairman of the TARP, Financial Services and Bailouts of Public and Private Programs subcommittee in the U.S. House.
He was named subcommittee chairman by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee incoming Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., last Friday.
McHenry’s subcommittee, though new, is seen as an important work group because it will focus on TARP financial accountability and because it is under the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the main investigative committee of the U.S. House.
McHenry said Monday what he hopes to accomplish as subcommittee chair is to find out if TARP worked, and at what cost. TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, was implemented in October 2008 to buy assets from troubled financial institutions who were suffering billions of dollars in losses because of the sub-prime mortgage crisis.
“We’ve got hundreds of billions of taxpayers money in private institutions,” said McHenry. “We want to make sure where the funds are going and what they are being used for, and if taxpayers are going to be compensated for loaning this money. The big question is what is government regulation doing to financial institutions and is that limiting their ability to loan money to small businesses?”
When the new Congress convenes in early January, the House will be under GOP control thanks to the electoral gains made in the November mid-term elections. With that power, McHenry said the House will focus on bringing more balance to federal policies, curbing spending and bringing the federal budget closer into balance.
“Over the past three years, our government has committed trillions of taxpayer dollars to bail out private institutions without proper oversight. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are at the core of this economic crisis, yet continue to have access to the taxpayers’ pocketbook,” said McHenry. “This administration has taken unprecedented action in the financial and capital markets – now it’s time we hold them accountable. I look forward to leading this committee’s charge to bring transparency, openness, and solutions for the challenges facing our financial system.”
McHenry said Monday that the current session of Congress should conclude its business by Wednesday, with the last vote coming on a continuing resolution to keep government funded for the next two to three months.
McHenry voted last week in support of the two-year extension of the 2001-2003 tax rates, which were set to expire Dec. 31. The tax-cuts package was signed into law by President Obama on Friday after Senate approval.
McHenry said he voted for it because he didn’t want to see a tax increase next year, but he wants to make those tax cuts permanent.
“We need to make these tax cuts permanent, bottom line. A last-minute, two year extension does not alleviate the massive uncertainty faced by small businesses,” said McHenry after the vote. “However, the short-term consequences of failing to act now would be devastating - our economy is too fragile. We can’t afford to gamble on a Democratic Senate and President supporting a better deal in January. It would squander our ability in the majority to fight for the long-term solution that we need.”
Eventually, McHenry said he would like to see balance budget amendment to the Constitution.
“What we’ve seen in Washington is government growing beyond our ability to pay for it,” he said. We have to right-size government in order for us to have vibrant, economic growth and for our children to have a better quality of life, not a worse quality of life.”
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