Geithner Says Rescue Funds Are Sufficient

April 22, 2009|By Jim Puzzanghera | Jim Puzzanghera,Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -The Obama administration has enough money left for its economic initiatives with $110 billion remaining in the federal financial rescue fund and $25 billion more coming this year as some banks return bailout money, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said Tuesday.

Geithner disclosed the new numbers as he defended the administration's bailout efforts in the face of tough questioning from a panel overseeing the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. In his first appearance before the panel, Geithner said federal funding has helped stimulate consumer and business lending, but more work was needed to revive an economy mired in recession.

"The lessons of financial crises ... is that early action, forceful action, sustained action to repair financial systems ... is essential to limit the damage recessions cause and to make it possible to bring recovery about at least cost to the taxpayer," he said.

In his written testimony, Geithner said the vast majority of banks "have more capital than they need to be considered well-capitalized by their regulators," a comment that helped boost the stock market after it had been shaken by huge loan losses reported Monday by Bank of America Corp.

The TARP money has been used primarily to bolster the financial industry but also to try to steady the teetering U.S. auto industry, specifically Chrysler and General Motors Corp.

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