Son of Stimulus? Politico: Dems push TARP money for jobs bill


Unemployment numbers were down today, but congressional Democrats are still scraping for job creation ideas, including using repaid Wall Street bailout funds to pay for a two-part jobs bill House leaders hope to bring to the floor before the end of the year.

The Troubled Asset Recovery Program funds would be used to pay for not only an extension of unemployment insurance but also transportation and infrastructure projects. House leaders are discussing attaching this jobs bill to an omnibus appropriations bill.

Democrats — especially in hard-hit states like New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island — are eager for the TARP funds.

“I think we use [the TARP funds] for the most significant issue of the moment, a crisis equally compelling as the credit crisis and the financial crisis that involved the financial markets last year,” said Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

Republicans have decried the idea of using bailout funds for a jobs bill, calling TARP a slush fund.

“TARP funds borrowed from the taxpayer should not become a slush fund for the political whims of Washington,” said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.). “The TARP was passed last fall because most experts believed that our capital markets were on the verge of absolute collapse.”

Democrats are considering several ideas as part of a jobs package. They must extend safety-net measures such as COBRA and unemployment assistance but are unsure if the extension will be for six months or a year. That measure, which Democrats say is an emergency measure, will most likely cost around $100 billion.

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