Federal City Digest

Federal City Digest

Elizabeth Warren, head of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the TARP, testifies to senators.
Elizabeth Warren, head of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the TARP, testifies to senators. (By Chip Somodevilla -- Getty Images)
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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

TARP's Monitors Feel Snubbed

The chairwoman of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) told the Senate Finance Committee yesterday that the Treasury Department has brushed aside her team's efforts to get information about banks' use of bailout dollars.

"We have sent letters. We have requested that there be someone named so that we can get technical information. And so far, we have not been a first priority," Elizabeth Warren said.

She's not the only one concerned: A Government Accountability Office report released in concert with the hearing said the Treasury should develop a better communications strategy and will need to hire 196 full-time employees to fully staff the Office of Financial Stability, established to handle elements of the TARP.

The office is less than half full, with 113 staffers as of March 20, according to the GAO.

WHAT TO WATCH

-- President Obama is in London, where he meets today with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Chinese President Hu Jintao and David Cameron, leader of the British Conservative Party. He will also have an audience with Queen Elizabeth II.

-- Vice President Biden travels to the swing state of North Carolina to highlight Recovery Act spending in (politically important) rural areas. Along with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, left, he will visit the Goshen Medical Center in Faison, which serves the eastern part of the state, at midday. Later, the two will visit a rural fire department in Pikeville. They will also "make a major announcement regarding rural housing funding," according to the White House.

-- Wasting no time claiming ownership of the census issue, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke speaks at a National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund briefing at the National Press Club on Ya Es Hora -- "It's Time" -- a campaign to motivate and inform Latinos to participate in the 2010 Census.

-- Today's nomination hearings:

The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee holds a hearing on the nominations of Joe Leonard Jr. to be an assistant agriculture secretary for civil rights; Kathleen A. Merrigan to be deputy secretary; James W. Miller to be undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services; and Dallas P. Tonsager to be undersecretary for rural development.

The Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee holds a hearing on the nomination of Karen Mills to be administrator of the Small Business Administration.

And the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meets to vote on the nomination of Thomas Strickland to be assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks at the Interior Department.

-- Garance Franke-Ruta federalcity@washpost.com


© 2009 The Washington Post Company

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