December 4, 2009 / 10:47 PM / 11 years ago

Geithner: Can shift "substantial" bailout funds to jobs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration can shift “substantial” resources from bank bailouts to job creation and will soon spell out the case for doing so, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Friday.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner listens to remarks at the opening session of the Jobs and Economic Growth Forum at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, December 3, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young

Interviewed on Bloomberg television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” Geithner said money from the $700-billion Troubled Assets Relief Program will be available.

“We’re going to explain that we’re going to have substantial savings, that we’re going to have very substantial resources that we can make available to support not just the immediate priorities the country faces in spurring investment in job creation, but also to meet our long-term fiscal challenges,” he said.

Bloomberg issued quotes from the interview.

President Obama is to lay out job creation strategies in a speech next Tuesday morning, a potential venue for specifying how much TARP money the White House might redirect from its original purpose of propping up ailing financial institutions.

Geithner said money was being repaid in greater volumes by banks and that he expected $175 billion to come back by the end of next year. “That’s substantially more than we anticipated even just a few months ago,” Geithner added.

On other topics, Geithner repeated his opposition to a tax on financial transactions because companies would find ways to get around it and rejected the idea that Goldman Sachs didn’t need government financial help last year when the financial crisis was raging.

All the banks were struggling and the whole financial system was at risk. “None of them would have survived a situation in which we had let that fire try to burn itself out,” Geithner said.

In response to a question, he said he backed the idea of having Congress consider new ways to choose a president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, one of the most powerful positions in U.S. central banking and the job that Geithner held before he was chosen for Treasury chief.

Asked if the New York Fed president should be nominated by the President and subject to Senate confirmation to ease concerns that Wall Street had undue influence, Geithner said it would be “very appropriate” for lawmakers to review the selection process.

“I would be very supportive of the Congress looking at changes to the governance structure,” Geithner said.

Reporting by Glenn Somerville; Editing by Diane Craft

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