Tester votes to end Wall Street bailout

Senator among bipartisan group of senators pushing to end TARP, lower debt

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester today cosponsored and voted for a measure to immediately end the recent multibillion dollar bailout of Wall Street.

Tester voted against the $700 billion bailout of America’s financial industry, formally known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), in October of 2008.  He said the plan—proposed by President Bush—wasn’t “tough enough to protect American taxpayers and small businesses.”

Tester is the only Senate Democrat to vote against both the Wall Street bailout and the bailout of the U.S. auto industry several months later.

Today, Tester joined a bipartisan group of senators cosponsoring a measure to immediately stop the federal government from spending Wall Street bailout money.  The measure would also require all repaid and unused TARP funds to be used to lower the national debt.

“It’s time to end this bailout now because and make sure Wall Street works for Main Street instead of the other way around,” Tester said.  “This measure would help lower our national debt.  For me, it’s an important step as we work together to get our fiscal house in order.”

In December, the U.S. Treasury Department decided to extend TARP until October 2010.

The amendment was part of a larger bill to raise the U.S. debt ceiling.  Without raising the debt ceiling, critical services like military salaries and retirement pay, Social Security, Medicare and veterans benefits would have to be stopped.

“I’m as furious and frustrated as anyone about the debt this country’s run up in the last decade, but I’m not about to take it out on our military, seniors and veterans,” Tester said.  “Instead, I’m going to keep focusing on common sense ways to cut spending, to create jobs, and to get our economy out of the ditch.  That’s why I support ending a bailout that should have never happened in the first place.”