- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Treasury Department official who oversees the government’s $700 billion Wall Street bailout says the program has been a success but will need to continue for the foreseeable future.

“We still have a long way to go before true recovery takes hold, but we are now pointed in the right direction,” Assistant Treasury Secretary Herbert M. Allison Jr. told the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Thursday.

Mr. Allison said the 1-year-old bailout initiative, called the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), is still necessary because of declining prices in commercial real estate that could continue to weigh down bank balance sheets.

“Our [economic] situation requires continued action and vigilance,” he said. “The recovery has just begun, the financial system remains fragile, and the credit markets are not fully functioning.”

As of Monday, Treasury said it had disbursed $365 billion in TARP funds.

The Treasury Department has the option of extending the program to October 2010 so long as it provides a justification to Congress.

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