TARP stands for the Troubled Assets Relief Program. It was established by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, which included tax cuts and other provisions and was signed into law by President George W. Bush on Oct. 3, 2008. TARP allows the Treasury Dept. to buy assets and mortgages from faltering financial institutions, as well as to insure assets in exchange for a premium from institutions. The full TARP funds total $700 billion, to be distributed by Treasury in an effort to stave off further economic collapse that began to hit major U.S. institutions in Sept. 2008 as a subprime mortgage crisis peaked. As part of the program, Treasury announced the TARP Capital Purchase Program, through which the government would invest up to $250 billion in banks and other financial institutions by purchasing senior preferred shares. TARP has continued to be implemented under President Barack Obama’s administration.