Pence: Dem financial bills are 'TARP II'

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) came out swinging Tuesday, calling Democratic financial overhaul bills, "TARP II."

Pence, chairman of the House Republican Conference, gave a lengthy speech to the New York Hedge Fund Roundtable, in which he repeatedly criticized Democratic efforts to overhaul the financial system, and laid much of the blame for the crisis with government policies on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and credit rating agencies.

Pence repeatedly argued that the Democratic bills would lead to more bailouts of private industry. Pence referred to the House and Senate bills as "TARP II" seven times during his speech. Democrats say the bills would end taxpayer bailouts, like the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), and put the industry, not taxpayers, on the hook for future failures.

The House and Senate financial bills set up a fund paid for by the industry that would help dissolve failing financial firms. The House bill creates a $150 billion fund; the Senate bill creates a $50 billion fund.

Republicans don't agree.

"It's TARP II, and it will place the financial services industry firmly in the grip of the government's control and will allow Washington, D.C. politicians and other government officials, rather than the market, to determine which firms succeed and which fail," he said.

The House passed legislation in December on a strict party-line vote, with no Republican support. The Senate is eyeing a May vote on its bill.

Pence urged Congress to wait on legislation until the Financial Crisis Inquiry Panel, a congressionally-mandated body, reports on the causes and consequences of the meltdown. The panel is set to report in mid-December, but there have been concerns about a short timeline and possibility that it could be delayed.