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US Senate okays release of unspent bailout funds

US Senate okays release of unspent bailout funds

A divided U.S. Senate has approved President-elect Barack Obama's request for $350 billion in unspent financial bailout funds.
The 52-42 vote releases the money in the midst of rising foreclosures and a worsening climate for US banks. It marked Obama's first legislative victory, days before he assumes office. The vote Thursday came amid strong opposition from critics of how the first $350 billion has been spent.
Obama has said he wants to use the money to unclog the credit markets and extend loans to consumers, small businesses and municipalities.
Obama's transition team said he also would use $50 billion to $100 billion of the money to reduce the number of house foreclosures.