This was a vote on a motion to recommit by Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) on a small business legislation that would have required the Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to oversee a new small business loan fund created by the underlying bill. A motion to recommit with instructions is the minority's last chance to make substantive changes to a bill before a final up-or-down vote on the measure. If passed, the motion sends the legislation back to committee with instructions to amend it as specified.
TARP had been created to assist troubled banks during the serious economic decline of 2008 and 2009. The small business loan fund provided for by H.R. 5297 authorized the Treasury Department to make up to $30 billion of capital investments in banks with total assets of $10 billion or less. The loan fund was aimed at small businesses seeking to hire new workers.
Neugebauer urged support for the motion to recommit: “Is the majority afraid to use this experienced and effective regulator simply because the word ``TARP'' is part of its title? The taxpayers deserve to be protected when Treasury makes investments with their money. Unfortunately, we have some examples of TARP investments that have raised serious questions about how the investment decisions were made.”
Republicans had been sharply critical of TARP and had tried to capitalize on the public’s anger over the notion of a “bailout” for the nation’s biggest banks. Rep. Barney Frank accused Republicans of trying to tar the small business lending bill with TARP’s reputation to make the bill unpopular with the public. In addition, he mocked Republicans for what he called their “envy” that Democrats would ultimately be responsible of phasing out the unpopular program. Frank said: “This [motion to recommit] is an effort to call it [H.R. 5297] TARP… It's the Peewee Herman school of legislating; let's call each other names without dealing with the substance. Let's not, when we're dealing with a serious issue of trying to get money to community banks to help our smaller businesses, fall for that nonsense…. What our friends on the other side have, for political reasons, is a severe case of TARP separation envy. It's going away…They are going to miss it, but we're not going to deal with that in this bill and kill the bill.”
The House rejected Neugebauer’s motion to recommit by a vote of 180-237. 171 Republicans and 9 Democrats voted “yea.” 237 Democrats voted “no.” As a result, the House rejected a motion to recommit on H.R. 5297 that would have required the Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program to oversee a new small business loan fund created by the underlying bill.