Mr. DRIEHAUS. Madam Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Madam Chair, we know that small businesses account for the majority of new jobs created in this country, and we know that making it easier for small businesses to borrow is essential to our continued economic recovery. This legislation will help small businesses access the credit they need to create the jobs that will move our economy forward, but we need to provide strong oversight to ensure that these loans are being put to use where they are most effective and put to use in a way that is responsible
to the American taxpayer.
The amendment I have offered with my colleagues from Virginia and Kansas will establish the Office of Small Business Lending Fund Oversight under the authority of the Treasury Inspector General. The Special Deputy Inspector General of the oversight office will be required to monitor the Small Business Loan Fund and to report to Congress at least twice a year with recommendations for improving the program.
This amendment is about good government. It places no additional burdens on banks or small businesses. Instead, it makes a good bill better by ensuring accountability and transparency to the American people.
We've seen what happens when government fails to provide adequate protections when special interests are put ahead of the public good. Now we're taking steps to make up for the years of lax oversight and neglected responsibility.
Make no mistake, this bill is about creating jobs. Small business owners tell me constantly that they could begin hiring again if only they had access to credit and capital. This legislation will encourage banks to lend to small businesses, and my amendment will help protect taxpayers in the process.
This bill will strengthen our economic recovery without adding a dime to the deficit. I encourage my colleagues to support this amendment as well as the underlying legislation.
Madam Chair, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. NEUGEBAUER. This new capital injection program is designed to operate exactly like the TARP program but without any of the taxpayer protection or oversight bodies. Now, this amendment is intended to substitute for putting the experience of the Inspector General for this type of program in charge of this new fund.
Republicans had an amendment that put the Special Inspector General for TARP, or SIGTARP, in charge of the oversight of this new fund, but the Rules Committee blocked it. Really, this creates a new regulator where we had an existing regulator in place for TARP-like programs, which this is, and we think that that was a better alternative. And now we want to put someone that doesn't have as much experience with this type of program in charge of oversight, and we just don't think that's in the best
interest of the taxpayers.
Republicans, as I want to remind the chairman, offered a number of amendments that would have given the taxpayers much more protection even than this amendment would. Unfortunately, again--and I don't want to be redundant here, but the Rules Committee, which is controlled by the majority, only allowed one Republican amendment to be heard while we've [Page: H4536]
had 16 amendments from the majority. Again, we wondered why Republican amendments to provide better protection
and better oversight were blocked by the majority when I think the American people think that any kind of amendment that would have provided them more opportunity, more protection, and more oversight would have been in their best interest.
We don't think that this amendment does the job that it needs to do, and therefore we're opposed to it.
Madam Chair, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. DRIEHAUS. Madam Chair, I would just comment on the gentleman's comments.
Yes, those amendments were offered, but as you know, not a dime of TARP money is being used in this bill, so it's not appropriate for SIGTARP to have the oversight. In fact, Mr. Thorson, who will have the oversight, has incredible experience overseeing small business programs. Before becoming the Inspector General of the Treasury Department, Mr. Thorson served as the Inspector General for the Small Business Administration from 2006 to 2008. In that short time, his office uncovered what is believed
to be the largest government-backed loan fraud scheme in history, roughly $75 million. As a result of that investigation, they arrested 15 people in one day. That's oversight.
And so while the gentleman is asking for SIGTARP to have oversight, despite the fact that not a dime of TARP is being spent on this bill, we have oversight that is adequate, that is strong, that is contained in Treasury, that should have the oversight within this bill.
Madam Chair, I yield 30 seconds to my colleague from Illinois (Ms. Bean).
Ms. BEAN. I just want to applaud Congressmen Driehaus, Connolly, and Moore's efforts to improve the oversight of the SBLF program. This amendment importantly expands oversight to ensure taxpayer dollars are protected. I urge my colleagues to adopt the amendment.
I would further rebut our colleague from Texas' inaccurate assertion that the program is not paid for. The gentleman knows full well that it is fully paid for and that, according to the CBO, the government will earn a profit.
Mr. NEUGEBAUER. I concede to the gentleman that none of this money is coming from the TARP program; it probably should have because it's a TARP program. I want to just remind the gentleman that Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General who oversees TARP, said, In terms of its basic design, its participants, its application process, from an oversight perspective the Small Business Lending Fund would essentially be an extension of TARP's capital purchase program.
From Elizabeth Warren, the SBLF's prospects are far from certain. The SBLF also raises the question whether, in light of the capital purchase program's poor performance in improving credit access, any capital infusion for the program can essentially jump-start small business lending. So everybody but the Democrats understands that this is a TARP program.
Now, why did we want SIGTARP to have oversight? Because this is a TARP-like program. And just today it was released that SIGTARP helped bring a new lawsuit today for $1.9 billion in fraud collection with the failure of Colonial Bank. Colonial Bank received $553 million in TARP funds. To say that you're going to go out and put $33 billion into the marketplace and not suffer any losses at a time when we have over 100 banks that have already missed one dividend payment--we've had one bank that has
missed six dividend payments--and that several billion dollars have already been lost from some of these banks that were defaulted and were closed after the taxpayers had put money in there.
And I go back to you saying, well, it doesn't cost the taxpayers any money. I keep asking the majority, where is the $33 billion for this program coming from?
I yield to the gentleman.
Mr. NEUGEBAUER. I will reclaim my time if the gentleman is not going to answer my question. The question to the gentleman was, Where is the $33 billion coming from? If the gentleman wants to answer that question, I would love to yield him time. If he's not prepared to tell me where the $33 billion is coming from, then I would not yield the gentleman time.
Mr. NEUGEBAUER. No. The pay-for was to cover any potential losses, supposedly. But where is the $33 billion that you're going to invest in these banks coming from?
Mr. DRIEHAUS. With all due respect to the gentleman, I know that this doesn't fit into the political framework of the Republicans to suggest that this is not TARP, this is not another bailout, this is about helping small businesses.
Mr. NEUGEBAUER. I will reclaim my time because the gentleman obviously doesn't know where the $33 billion is coming from, which is part of the problem up here. People just think this money appears when you start saying I'm going to put $33 billion here or $100 billion here, $250 billion here; and nobody knows where the money is coming from. But the bottom line is we know where the money is coming from. We're going out and borrowing that money because the Treasury doesn't have $33 billion.
Mr. DRIEHAUS. Madam Chair, the political framework of the Republicans is that they want to call everything a bailout. And when it's not a bailout, they want to act like it is. They want to call this TARP even when it's not. So this doesn't fit into the definition that they want to use out there on Fox News and elsewhere, but the fact of the matter is it's coming out of Treasury. Treasury deserves the oversight.
Madam Chair, I yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Connolly).
Mr. NYE. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
The CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Nye).
The amendment was agreed to.
AMENDMENT NO. 4 OFFERED BY MR. MINNICK, AS MODIFIED
The CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 4 printed in part C of House Report 111-506.
Mr. DRIEHAUS. Madam Chair, I just want to remind the Members this amendment is about oversight; it's about doing our job to make government work properly. And while I realize it doesn't always fit into the political rhetoric of the other side, it is about good government. This isn't TARP; this isn't a bailout. This is about helping small businesses, moving the economy forward, and good government.
The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Driehaus).
The amendment was agreed to.
AMENDMENT NO. 11 OFFERED BY MR.
The Acting CHAIR. The Chair understands that amendment Nos. 9 and 10 will not be offered. [Page: H4537]
It is now in order to consider amendment No. 11 printed in part C of House Report 111-506.