Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, urged the House Friday to avoid partisan politics and quickly pass an emergency bill like the Senate did Thursday to provide $30 billion more to close failing savings and loans.
"The longer we drag our feet in appropriating the funds, the higher the costs of the cleanup will be when we do finally face the problem. The responsibility now lies with the House," Garn said.Garn shepherded a similar bill that he and Banking Committee Chairman Donald Riegle, D-Mich., sponsored through the Senate last week where - despite five days of debate - there was little partisan bickering and few amendments offered.
But Garn, ranking Republican on the Banking Committee, said, "I only hope partisan politics will not prevail in the House's debate on this issue.
"If they clutter the bill with extraneous amendments and fiddle too much with the fine points for political reasons, they will once again end up passing on an excessive bill to the American taxpayer."
The increased funding for the Resolution Trust Corp. - which technically could run out of money to close down failing thrifts this week - fell apart in the House Banking Committee.
It failed to pass a bill after Republicans complained it was loaded with too many Democratic amendments - including one to require that bailout funds be paid up front.
When the Republicans balked en masse, about a third of the House Banking Committee Democrats also refused to vote for the bill, fearing Democrats might be given blame for the cost of the bailout.
Rep. Bill Orton, D-Utah, was among the minority of House committee members who voted for passing a bill out, and like Garn, has called the lack of one a crisis.
Despite lack of action by that House committee, the House Rules Committee - which schedules floor action - decided to allow three emergency S&L funding bills to be considered on the floor this week - one Republican, one essentially Democratic and a third that would require President Bush to pay for next year's expected $33 billion in S&L losses either through a tax increase or spending cuts.
Whichever bill the House passes will likely be sent to a House-Senate conference to work out any differences.
The longer the FTC cannot afford to close hopelessly failing thrifts, the larger their losses grow and the more taxpayers will have to pay to bail them out.