TARP's lifespan: Keep it short or keep it going?


Battles are brewing in Washington about whether to allow TARP to die a quiet death on December 31 or start a fight to extend its life. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has not yet decided if he will recommend a TARP extension, but even if he decides against an extension, he wants to keep the left over money in case financial conditions worsen and the government needs to step in again.

Right now there are about $128 billion -- of the total $700 billion originally approved -- in untapped TARP funds. But given how unpopular the program has been, it is doubtful Congress will want to extend it. In fact, 39 Senate Republicans and one Democrat have already sent a letter to Geithner asking that the program not be continued. They want unused TARP funds to be used to pay down the debt.

Originally published