Braley urges House leaders to improve oversight of bailout

Last week I wrote about some of the problems related to the Wall Street bailout. Among other things, no one knows what the Treasury Department has been doing with the money.

On November 18 Representative Bruce Braley sent a letter to leaders of the U.S. House “urging them to finish naming members of a congressional oversight panel charged with overseeing the implementation of the $700 billion bailout package.” His office released the text of the letter:

Dear Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi, Majority Leader [Steny] Hoyer, and Minority Leader [John] Boehner,

Thank you for your leadership throughout the 110th Congress.  As you know, we are facing an economic crisis as serious as any our nation has faced during my lifetime.  While this crisis started on Wall Street, it now affects Iowans and Americans from all walks of life.  We are all hopeful that the recently enacted Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA) will have a significant impact on the recovery of financial markets.

Just last week, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced a change in course on how taxpayer funds from the EESA will be used to stabilize the economy. He stated that instead of buying troubled assets, Treasury would use the funds to invest in nonbank financial companies, and to promote consumer borrowing through credit cards, car loans, and student loans. As reported in the Washington Post on November 13, 2008, the Bush Administration has already committed $290 billion of the $700 billion rescue package.

With all that is going on, I am concerned that all of the members have not yet been nominated to the five-member Congressional Oversight panel, as designated by Section 125 of the EESA. As you know, the EESA included language that required the release of a detailed report from the congressional panel 30 days after the bailout program began.  This deadline for this initial report has since passed. Additionally, the congressional oversight panel is supposed to issue a report on January 20, 2009, giving an update on the financial regulatory process. Since a congressional panel is not yet finalized, it is unclear as to whether this deadline can be met.

I strongly believe that the American people have a right to know how their taxpayer funds are being used by the Treasury, especially in light of the recent change in course on how to revitalize the economy.  It is essential that Congress conduct vigorous oversight during this process. That is why I urge you to make it a top priority to complete the assembly of a Congressional Oversight Panel as soon as possible.

Thank you again for your leadership, and thank you for your attention to this issue.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Bruce Braley

Braley voted against the first proposed bailout but supported the revised version for reasons described here. Although I didn’t agree with his second vote, I appreciate his effort to improve Congressional oversight so that Treasury can be held accountable for how funds are being used.

About the Author(s)


  • Braley is damaged by this

    Braley should not have voted for this in the first place it is a shame that all the Democrats in this state voted for it.  Big mistake.  King and Latham are looking smart now and I hate to write that about Steve King.

    Cost Becky Greenwald her chance to win a seat but I think William Meyers will be a good choice for the nomination in two years.

    By the way, why is Becky Greenwald’s website down?  Is it true she is giving up on running again in two years because she needs income?

    • I don't agree with Braley's vote on the bailout

      but he is a very safe incumbent, so this won’t cost him.

      Typically campaign websites come down some time after the election.

      I attended the women in politics forum at Drake last Friday, and Becky Greenwald did not rule out running for office again someday, but she wasn’t specific about 2010. She did mention that she is looking for a job now.

      Interesting that you don’t seem bothered by Obama’s support for the bailout. He is one of the few people who might have been able to stop that speeding train, so his support was quite important.

      • Yes...

        But I was not going to vote for McCain.

        Like I have written before, I voted for Obama, myself for Senate and Tom Latham.

        I just think that Braley is probably going to run for a higher office someday the way it seems and this is going to damage his shine a bit.

        • Senate?

          You voted yourself for Senate?  U.S. Senate?  I think I need more of an explanation here.  Tom Harkin has been an outstanding Senator for Iowa.  What’s your beef?

          • Bailout

            I was not going to vote for Harkin because he was in favor of the bailout – I liked Obama but also did not like McCain – wish Obama would have voted against the bailout too.

            Christopher Reed was not an option.

            I live in the 4th so I voted for Latham because Greenwald was so in favor of the bailout (and Latham was against it) and William Meyers blew it by not getting on the ballot.

            • more revisionist history

              Immediately after the June 3 primary you indicated that you would not support Greenwald and might vote for Latham if Meyers did not run as an independent.

              Why do you pretend the bailout had anything to do with your vote?

              • Solidified my vote for Latham

                Yes, the bailout made it crystal clear to me to vote for Latham.

                I was leaning that way because my boy William forgot to get on the ballot – had Greenwald come out against it – I would have maybe taken another look but she really shot herself in the foot on that.

                Would you agree?

                • I wrote several front-page posts

                  on the bailout, expressing my opinion that this was a trap Democrats from Obama on down were stupid to walk into. I even wrote that if Latham was re-elected he should write Nancy Pelosi a thank-you note for giving him two chances to vote against the bailout.

          • I doubt "Bill Spencer" is a Democrat

            The fact that he didn’t vote for Harkin is just one indication.

            If you click on his username and read his comment history and his diary history, he mostly shows up to criticize Democrats or this blog. He first appeared in order to encourage one of the fourth district primary candidates to run as an independent in the general, which obviously would benefit the Republican incumbent.

            • I'm an Independent at Heart

              I’ve written this several times tonight.

              I’m currently a registered Democrat – one of thousands of new “Democrats” who became a Democrat to caucus for Obama.

              I stayed a “Democrat” to vote on June 3 for Meyers and I encouraged him to continue.

              I plan to re-register as an Independent when I renew my drivers license soon.