Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s fine-tuning legislation today that would put more teeth in the plan to bail out the nation’s financial sector. Grassley says the bill would strengthen the power of the Special Inspector General to oversee the government’s $700 billion effort to stabilize Wall Street and ease the credit crunch.
"The legislation we’ve introduced is needed because the Treasury Department’s retooling of the bailout program away from buying up toxic assets made it so the authority that the special Inspector General had in the original legislation wasn’t really strong enough," he says.
Grassley says a few "fixes" are needed so that oversight will be effective. He says the inspector general has to be able to observe and monitor the spending of that $700 billion. "The more formidable the watchdog in this case, the better, given the big stakes for the taxpayers," he says. "Every step possible needs to be taken by Congress, the current administration and the new administration, to safeguard dollars being used in the massive effort."
The original bill was passed October 1st. Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress say they’re close to reaching a deal with the White House for a $15 billion dollar bailout of the auto industry. Republican Grassley says he won’t support any legislation for the Big Three automakers that doesn’t involve a complete overhaul of the current system. "How they do business, their union contracts and their pay for top management and maybe even the replacement of management," he says.
According to Grassley, some of those issues may be implied in the legislation but he wants them clearly laid down in the law, adding, "I don’t want to buy a pig in a poke."