John Boehner just issued a statement expressing dismay at President Bush’s UAW bailout. He called the use of TARP funds for the bailout “regrettable:”
“The action today is disappointing news for autoworkers and taxpayers, who deserve better — particularly from their Congress, which essentially punted on this difficult issue and is gearing up to move radical environmental legislation next year that will wreak havoc on American jobs. The no-bailout restructuring plan House Republicans put forth this month, which relied on private funds rather than taxpayer funds, was the responsible way for Washington to respond to the troubles in the American auto industry. By declining to take the responsible approach, Washington has failed both autoworkers and taxpayers. The use of TARP funds is also regrettable, the latest in a growing list of TARP money uses that were not discussed with or envisioned by Congress when the program was authorized. Now that billions in taxpayer funds are being put at risk, it is more essential than ever that our Democratic counterparts back away from threats to impose extreme environmental mandates on the auto industry that will jeopardize millions of American jobs.”
The Bush Administration is planning to use money from the $700 billion financial system bailout for an auto industry bailout. To do that, it is seizing on the fact that the bailout statute contains a very broad definition of “financial institution,” which the Administration claims includes virtually any institution, financial or not. The bailout statute defines “financial institutions” eligible for the bailout as ”any institution, including, but not limited to, any bank, savings association, credit union, security broker or dealer, or insurance company.” Never mind that Congress listed as examples of ”financial institutions” only entities that were banks, insurance companies, or financial institutions, not automakers.
The Heritage Foundation and Michelle Malkin have made a strong argument that this violates the financial bailout statute under the principle of statutory construction known as ejusdem generis, which says that when a term’s definition includes examples that are all of a similar kind, it limits the meaning of the term to things similar in kind to such examples.
But if that’s not so, and the bailout was just a big slush fund for the Administration to dispense with as it chooses, then the bailout law itself was unconstitutional, since it conferred unbridled discretion in the hands of the President to do whatever he wanted with it.
Instead of wringing their hands, I’d like to see fiscal conservatives in Congress put their money where their mouths are and file suit against this illegal, unconstitutional bailout.
The Foundry breaks down Bush’s awful auto bailout.
Just received more condemnations of the bailout from Rep. Hensarling and Sen. Kyl. How about walking the walking?