Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., and Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, have drafted a Republican alternative that would use the money approved in September from the Energy Department's $25 billion retooling program.
The White House is encouraging Congress to sign on
"White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the compromise pitched by Sens. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, and Kit Bond, R-Mo., would garner bipartisan support if allowed to face a vote," reports CNNMoney.com.
But some Democrats are balking
"We are having a lot of discussions with Democrats,'' Voinovich said. Democrats are "sensitive'' to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who doesn't favor the approach, he said, as reported by Bloomberg.com.
Meanwhile, Sen. Claire McCaskill is attempting to tighten government oversight of the financial rescue plan approved by Congress in October. McCaskill introduced a bill that would monitor how the $700 billion dollar bailout is being spent and the authority of the Special Inspector General to oversee the program.
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"We voted on this measure thinking there would be responsible oversight of how the tax dollars are being spent," McCaskill said in a statement. "Instead, almost half the money has been doled out but no one is watching to make sure that the government is spending it wisely. We need to fix this before another cent is spent unsupervised."
McCaskill's legislation would:
- Allow the IG to quickly begin hiring staff without going thorough the normal civil service process which, she says could cause a lengthy delay in beginning oversight work.
- Expand the authority of the IG to cover any and all action conducted as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program.