Obama asks Bush to seek $350B rescue funds

Jan. 12, 2009 at 12:06 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. President-elect Barack Obama asked President George Bush to seek the remaining $350 billion of the financial markets rescue money, the White House said.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Monday that Obama asked Bush to formally notify Congress "on his behalf, of his intent to exercise the authority under the emergency economic stabilization act to access" the second, and last, portion of the Troubled Asset Relief Program funds, The Hill reported.

Besides agreeing to the request, Perino said the White House will maintain its consultation with both Obama's transition team and Congress "on how best to proceed in accordance with the requirements of the statute."

Earlier Monday, during his final news conference as president, Bush said he wouldn't seek release of the remaining funds of the $700 billion appropriated to aid the financial markets unless Obama asked him.

Bush said he and Obama, who takes over Jan. 20, have discussed the matter. "I told him that if he felt that he needed the $350 billion, I would be willing to ask for it."

Reflecting on the recession that is ending his tenure, Bush said, "I inherited a recession and I am leaving on a recession."

"I readily concede I chucked aside my free-market principles when I was told ... the situation we were facing could be worse than the Great Depression," Bush said.

He said he was pleased the financial markets have begun to move because of the $350 billion already spent and that he would be supportive of Obama's administration working out a plan "that best suits him."

His administration moved aggressively by taking actions "all aiming to prevent the financial system from cratering."

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