President Obama Tuesday outlined measures that will "generate the greatest number of jobs" andstimulate the economy, including programs to aid small business, a new round of consumer rebates for energy-efficient products and services and additional infrastructure spending.
The plan, though short on details in some cases, includes three key areas—small business, infrastructure and clean energy—and comes just after the president convened a high-profile jobs summit in Washington, D.C.
Many of the initiatives are extensions of aspects of the stimulus plan, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
In outlining the proposals, the president emphasized the administration position that some $200 billion in projected savings in the TARP program would be used for new spending programs as well as deficit reduction.
Prior to the speech, senior administration officials indicated that funds from TARP, which is set to expire at the end of this year, would not be used indiscriminately, a concern raised by both members of Congress and public interest groups.
"No one is talking about making new investments out of the TARP program itself," said one official. "What we are talking about is the fiscal room we have."
Though officials took great pains to steer clear of any further controversy about the use of any of the $700 billion in TARP funds, which under law are supposed to be returned to the Treasury, it was unclear how certain credit facilities would be continued past the program’s deadline.
The President himself said the "little-loved" TARP program would be wound down, but also said TARP savings "will allow us to pay down the deficit faster than was anticipated while also investing funds that would have gone to banks in job creating efforts instead."
Small business borrowing is one area that has been supported under TARP and is expected to get continued support one way or the other.
The small business component of the latest plan also includes new tax cuts and credits, some of which build on stimulus plan measures.
Administration officials said they had asked the Treasury to continue "all the efforts they have to support small business lending." The Treasury is now working on proposals, they said.