Sen. Chris Dodd, (D-Conn.) spared no one in his opening remarks. The Senate Banking Chairman slammed the automakers, financial companies, the Treasury Department’s bailout program, the Federal Reserve and the Bush administration.
Dodd felt feel boxed in: he doesn’t want to help the auto companies – particularly given his unhappiness with the execution of the Treasury Department’s $700 billion bailout of the nation’s financial system – but knows Congress must act to avoid worsening an economy already in recession.
Some excerpted outrage from his testimony:
“We need to act. Not for the purpose of the protecting a handful of companies. If that were the extent of the issue – I would let them fail.”
“In the spirit of the season, Secretary Paulson has given the nation’s largest financial institutions the biggest holiday present in the history of American capitalism,” Dodd said.
In the first round of questions, Dodd just asked the comptroller general if there was another way to get money to the automakers, other than Congress authorizing it directly. He suggested using some of the remaining funds in the Treasury’s $700 billion rescue fund or tapping into the Federal Reserve, similar to what the central bank did in the AIG bailout.
“Both of those vehicles are potentially available,” said GAO’s Acting Comptroller General Gene Dodaro.
“That’s been the view of this senator for a long time,” said Dodd. “The authority clearly exists.”