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TARP spending could shift to housing

Obama, through Bush, asks for second $350 billion

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The focus of the Treasury Department's $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) could soon shift from recapitalizing banks to helping troubled homeowners avoid foreclosure and stimulating demand for housing. The Bush administration has agreed to make a formal determination that the second $350 billion in TARP money will be needed, so that President-elect Barack Obama could theoretically have the money at his disposal soon after he takes office Jan. 20. Obama called Bush today, after the president said during a press conference he would make the determination if requested by the incoming administration. The determination triggers a 15-day waiting period during which Congress could vote to deny the Treasury the authority to borrow additional money to fund TARP programs to the full $700 billion limit approved in October. Although Congress is expected to approve the request, it may also put additional conditions on how the money can be spent. Many lawmakers were ang...