With the Treasury Department's decision to infuse Citigroup with $20 billion to salvage its flailing banking operations, some members of Congress are beginning to experience "bailout fatigue" -- a growing frustration and hesitation toward dumping oodles of cash into failing U.S. corporations.
"It is past time for Congress to map an exit strategy from these repeated government interventions," Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, told FOX News.
Citigroup now joins Bear Stearns, the American Insurance Group, Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Big Three automakers in appearing in Washington, hat in hand, searching with varying success for a federal handout.
For some on the Hill, the mounting deficit is the most bothersome. For others, concern has been stated over the government's refusal to let the free market take its natural course.
And for many in the public and on Capitol Hill, the most bothersome aspect has been the cavalier nature of spending after the companies have requested federal aid -- laid bare by AIG's $400,000 spa visits for its executives or the Detroit auto companies' CEOs' decisions to fly individually in their private jets to hearings in Washington last week.
Citigroup earned its own dubious distinction on Monday when it was revealed that the bank insists on maintaining a $400 million contract that grants the firm naming rights to the New York Mets' new baseball stadium. Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings called Citigroup's decision "indefensible and "unacceptable."
"Surely if the company has the funds to paste its name to a recreational facility, it has the money to maintain its operations and keep the 52,000 jobs it announced last week it would be eliminating," Cummings said in a written statement.
He argued that his constituents "did not turn over their hard-earned wages to fund a baseball stadium in New York." And he warned the government that it should stop pouring money "into buckets with holes."
But not everyone is tired of the requests for federal aid.
"I think the plan for Citigroup is a good plan," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. who is chairman of Congress' Joint Economic Committee. "It's unpleasant to do. But the alternative is a whole lot worse."
The Bush Administration also defended the Citigroup bailout.
"The government has to step in," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto, who suggested the firm was so big that its collapse could "bring down not just the entire U.S. economy but the global financial system."