January 22, 2009 - Issue: Vol. 155, No. 13 — Daily Edition111th Congress (2009 - 2010) - 1st Session
TARP REFORM AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT OF 2009; Congressional Record Vol. 155, No. 13
(Extensions of Remarks - January 22, 2009)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E122] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] TARP REFORM AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT OF 2009 ______ speech of HON. HOWARD L. BERMAN of california in the house of representatives Thursday, January 15, 2009 The House in Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 384) to reform the Troubled Assets Relief Program of the Secretary of the Treasury and ensure accountability under such Program, and for other purposes: Mr. BERMAN. Mr. Chair, I thank Chairman Frank for introducing H.R. 384, the TARP Reform and Accountability Act of 2009, and I join in support of this legislation that is aimed at bringing liquidity back to our capital markets and enhancing oversight of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. I particularly want to draw attention to Section 402 of the Act, which provides important support to the struggling municipal bond market from those TARP funds already released. I thank the chairman for including this provision, which is intended not only to address municipal offerings, but also to include qualified 501(c)(3) bonds as described in Section 145 of the Internal Revenue Code. These important offerings have also been impacted by the liquidity crisis over the past several months. More specifically, the tightening of credit in our financial markets has greatly affected the 501(c)(3)/non-profit bond market and the many non-profit organizations that rely on these bonds' issuance to carry out their charitable missions. Non-profit organizations provide a much needed back-stop to government programs and ensure that many of the Nation's most vulnerable citizens receive basic needs such as food, shelter, or drug rehabilitation. Without access to sufficient, affordable lines of credit, many charitable programs go unrealized. Particularly now, that cannot be allowed to happen. This new legislation should alleviate this problem and increase liquidity in the bond market, as it makes clear that 501(c)(3) bonds, as defined by Section 145 of the Internal Revenue Code, are considered ``municipal securities.'' It is further my understanding that the support offered by Section 402 of the Act is not a ``federal guarantee'' under section 149 of the Internal Revenue Code, so that the legislative direction and solutions offered in today's bill will be available to the non-profit agencies who rely upon these types of bonds for their important work. Furthermore, for new lending that is attributable to TARP investments and assistance, I encourage the secretary to clarify that 501(c)(3) bonds are eligible investments, and hold accountable those banks receiving funds to ensure that these not-for-profit organizations issuing bonds have access to affordable and competitive rates when seeking letters of credit to support their bond offerings. By holding financial institutions receiving TARP money accountable to use part of those funds to assist the non-profit sector, the secretary will help bring liquidity back to the non-profit bond market. ____________________