Last year should be remembered as the Year of the Bailout. This year is not shaping up to be much better under the current leadership in Washington. Incredibly, banks that want to pay back TARP bailout funds are now being hindered by the Obama administration. After accepting TARP bailout funds, some banks have had enough and are ready to return money they got from American taxpayers. You would think allowing banks to return borrowed money would be a simple process -- something the federal government would be eager to accommodate.

But given recent comments by administration officials and the vague guidelines provided by the administration for returning TARP funds, we are not seeing much hope for a speedy recovery of taxpayer dollars. What we are getting is an environment of regulatory uncertainty that is bad for our economy and bad for taxpayers.

Taxpayers deserve to get bailout money back from banks as quickly as possible, which is why I’ve introduced the Bailout Freedom Act of 2009 to ensure we have a clear and timely process for making that happen. My bill removes impediments to the repayment of funds received under TARP by allowing those funds to be recovered by the Treasury once the TARP recipient is well capitalized “as determined by the appropriate Federal banking agency having supervisory authority over the TARP recipient.” Once banks are certified to be well capitalized by regulators, the federal government should work to recover all TARP bailout funding without delay.

From the beginning I have opposed spending billions of taxpayer dollars for bailouts and growing the role of the federal government. Now we must work to reverse the current trend being set by the Obama administration and allow taxpayers to be paid back quickly.

-Congressman Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) represents the 4th Congressional District of Kansas and is the Dean of the Kansas House Delegation.