2009-01-11washingtonpost.com

The initiative could create an unusual political scenario straddling the Bush and Obama administrations. If Congress were to vote down the measure, either President Bush or Obama would have to exercise a veto to get the money.

Obama officials would prefer that Bush exercise any veto rather than leave the new president with the unsavory task of rebuffing his fellow Democrats in Congress to advance a widely unpopular program, sources said. The White House has declined to say publicly whether Bush would be willing to issue the veto.

Watch carefully what Obama does. Remember that the Treasury is under the executive, which means the president can any time order any sort of behavior and compliance (under the terms of the TARP law, which is quite inclusive). If Obama chooses to veto a renewal refusal, or otherwise accepts a renewal of the TARP with no new aid or enforcement terms, it is of his own choosing. Then you will know how serious the man is about "change".


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