TARP funds latest

By Linsey Davis, ABC News, New York

Policy differences may delay a new round of spending to help out the financial industry. Whether to free up the second installment of so-called TARP funds is proving to be the first divisive issue in the new congress -- and perhaps Barack Obama's first leadership challenge.

Abc's Linsey Davis has one perspective from the front line of the mortage crisis.

Show me the money -- or at least, where it went. That's the sentiment of Mike Stowers who cleans up and repairs foreclosed homes.   He sees the effects of the housing crisis every day.

"It's just the quantity of them...and so many people in distress at this time," said Mike Stowers.

Pesident-elect Oama is urging the senate to release the remaining 350 billion dollars of bailout money to help the more than 2.3 million Aericans  facing foreclosure keep their homes.

"Most of them are in stalemate...and they're just sitting there because there are so many foreclosed homes," said Mike Stowers.

While both the senate and house are expected to vote on whether to release the remaining TARP money, Obama has already threatened to veto any attempt to withhold the money. But some economists argue that while the banks got nearly all of the bailout money so far, many of them, like bank of  America and citigroup, will soon need even more.

"I wouldn't be surprised if the federal government stepped in within the next 24 or 48 hours and took control of Citigroup," said Sean Egan, President of Egan Jones Ratings Co.

ABC News called 25 banks.  80% of them wouldn't tell us where the initial money went.  Then, there's the 825-billion-dollar stimulus plan. There are still numbers  to crunch and tax cuts to debate, but congressional democrats unveiled a draft of the package today.  $550 billion of that will be spending and job creation while up to $275 billion will be in tax cuts.

There was one bit of good financial sector news.  JP Morgan Chase reported stronger than expected earnings in the fourth quarter.