Congress to monitor bailout funds with database

One year after the Wall Street meltdown, Congress is considering a bill that would build a massive database to track bailout funds.

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One year after the Wall Street meltdown, Congress is considering a bill that would build a massive database to track bailout funds.

As envisioned, the database will collect information from some two dozen federal agencies that administer various aspects of the $700 billion in the federal Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). That money has been used to bail out banks and other financial institutions, including American International Group, which laid off tech workers while it paid bonuses.

If the bill to create a centralised database makes it through Congress, President Obama may have no reason to reject it. The White House has been pushing for open government data and has built new services, such as Data.gov and Recovery.gov, which tracks stimulus spending.

US Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) , who introduced the legislation (HR 1242), has not offered a cost estimate but is adamant about the need to track the funds. Maloney said she wants a technology that's capable of monitoring spending in near real time.

At a House Committee on Financial Services subcommittee hearing today, Maloney said the TARP data isn't usable. "You have to go to 25 different agencies to put it together," she told the committee.

The TARP legislation previously drew interest from the IT industry because of an amendment that set restrictions on H-1B visa use by banks receiving bailout money.

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