WASHINGTON, Dec 10 (Reuters) - An outspoken dissenting voice on the panel overseeing the U.S. government’s $700 billion bank bailout fund has stepped down, his office said on Thursday, saying he has no desire to stay on once the original term of the program expires.
Republican Representative Jeb Hensarling resigned from the five-member Congressional Oversight Panel for the the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), his spokesman, George Rasley, said on Tuesday.
“He signed on for the duration of the original program, which was a year, and given that it has been extended ... he concluded that he could be effective on these issues in his capacity as a member of Congress,” Rasley said.
Hensarling was the panel’s only sitting member of Congress, and advocated shutting TARP down by year-end. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner extended the life of the program into October, saying TARP is still needed to buffer banks against possible shocks.
“One can not help but conclude that TARP is failing its mandate,” Hensarling said in a statement accompanying the most recent report by the oversight panel.
The TARP watchdog itself has been critical of the program. Its most recent report says that while TARP helped stabilize markets and the economy during the crisis, it has done little to boost lending or stave off millions of home foreclosures. (Reporting by Mark Felsenthal;Editing by Andrew Hay )