The House Comittee on Oversight and Government Reform has announced its first hearing of the 112th Congress, helpfully entitled “Bailouts and the Foreclosure Crisis: Report of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (“SIGTARP”).” It’s slated for Wednesday, January 26 and the star witness is SIGTARP himself, Neil Barofsky. Barofsky pulled no punches in his lasat report on the Obama administration’s handling of TARP, and especially the president’s HAMP mortgage bailout program. He’ll release a new report on the day of the hearing.
“The Oversight Committee’s first hearing will offer Members the opportunity to question the Treasury Department on concerns that have been raised again and again by SIGTARP Barofsky,” chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif) said in a statement. “TARP was conceived by a Republican Administration, approved by a Democratic Congress, and has operated for two years under the current Administration. It’s a fitting subject for bipartisan oversight in the new Congress.”
But those Treasury Department official(s) won’t include Secretary Tim Geithner. Geithner was invited to testify but said “No, thanks. Instead, Geithner will be sending a subordinate:
“The secretary welcomes the committee’s interest in our management of TARP, a successful program that was initiated under the prior administration and which CBO now estimates will cost roughly $25 billion, a fraction of what the critics once feared,” Treasury spokesman Steve Adamske said in a statement. “As is customary, we are happy to make Acting Assistant Secretary Tim Massad, the official with direct responsibility for the TARP Program, available for the quarterly updates that the committee is planning. At the earliest possible date that is mutually convenient, Secretary Geithner would also be pleased to brief the committee on the considerable progress we have made in lowering the cost of TARP.”
Should be interesting.