H.R. 384 - Rep. Barney Frank's medicine for the Troubled Asset Relief Program - was introduced on January 9 and passed the House in 13 days, something approaching the speed of light for Congressional action. One hitch, though was that the Senate had no plans to consider the bill. Meanwhile, momentum was building at the other end of the Mall for the creation of a bad bank designed to sanitize the financial sector by aggregating damaged securities.

The Senate's public disinterest did not make H.R. 384 irrelevant, however. The TARP Reform and Accountability Act is regarded as a guide to how the Obama administration might structure the remainder of TARP money released by the Senate. H.R. 384 would provide at least $100 billion to homeowners facing foreclosure, provide a big chunk to mandated lending, and handcuff executive compensation.

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