WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. President George W. Bush has not decided whether to ask Congress to release the second half of the financial industry bailout, the White House said.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has asked lawmakers to release the second $350 billion of the Troubled Asset Relief Funds after Bush announced a decision to use some of the money to make loans to U.S. automakers.
"I think it's clear from the auto loan announcement on Friday that additional funds for TARP will be needed as early as February," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said. "And so it's possible that we could be the ones to ask for it, and it's possible the next administration. But no decision has been made on that."
Fratto said Bush will make a decision based on what Paulson tells him about the needs of the program.
"If the treasury secretary determined that he had an immediate need for it, he wouldn't hesitate to come to the White House and ask the president to request that authority from Congress," Fratto said. "They at the Treasury Department are monitoring the markets every day, they're monitoring the health of the financial institutions and ways that they can make sure that our banks are capitalized so that they can do the job that they need to do."