Sen. Olympia Snowe, the senior Republican on the Senate Small Business Committee, is urging Senate Banking Committee leaders and the Treasury Secretary to provide strict oversight of the $30 billion small business lending fund President Obama signed into law Monday.
The Maine lawmaker sent letters Monday to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Sens. Chris Dodd and Richard Shelby urging oversight of the fund that is meant to help community banks spread credit to small businesses.
"Unfortunately, I opposed final passage of this bill because it includes a $30 billion Treasury lending fund that has not been fully vetted, is potentially very costly to the American taxpayer, and could damage the stability of our financial system," she wrote in a press release.
Snowe raised several concerns, including how much the program will ultimately cost.
"I have serious concerns about whether the true cost of the Small Business Lending Fund, and its potential burden on taxpayers, has been taken into consideration when evaluating the program and its effect on our budget, particularly given its inclusion in the legislation without being subject to a single Senate hearing on the matter," she said.
Snowe also raised concerns about how the fund would be structured.
"The structure of this lending fund is completely counter to the measures we have taken over the past two years to improve the quality of assets and underwriting in the financial market, and could potentially lead to poor lending decisions that, in the long run, would undermine our overall financial system," she said in a press release.
In the letters, Snowe asked Geithner, Dodd and Shelby "to maintain a consistent and watchful eye on the new lending fund" and specifically asked the Senate Banking Committee to hold regular oversight hearings on the new lending facility.