Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats, plans to introduce legislation to block the second tranche of the $700 billion bailout.
Sanders, who voted against the bailout initially, cited a range of concerns: a lack of oversight and transparency and uncertainty over how the money will be used. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson initially persuaded Congress to pass the legislation by saying that he would buy toxic mortgage-backed securities from banks. Instead, he has been purchasing stakes in major institutions -- a move initially encouraged by Democrats and rejected by the White House.
Sanders has his own ideas for the money. “We should use the second $350 billion tranche to create millions of good paying jobs rebuilding our crumbling bridges, roads, culverts, schools and water systems," he said. "We can also create millions of jobs by moving away from foreign oil and fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energies.”
Congress must actively refuse to provide the second half in order to prevent the White House from obtaining it. President Bush, however, could veto that refusal, meaning that it could take a two-thirds vote in both chambers to prevent the second half from being paid out.
UPDATE: Sen. Jim Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, said that he also intends to introduce a bill blocking the second half of the bailout. His bill, he added, would freeze any money from the first half that had yet to be spent. Inhofe opposed the initial bailout vote.
Sanders' statement after the jump...
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