DeFazio: Summers, Geithner Oppose Using Bailout Money on Infrastructure

As Streetsblog Capitol Hill readers may know, there is no love lost between lawmakers on the House transportation committee and President Obama’s economic advisers.

When the Obama administration first pushed to delay the next federal long-term infrastructure bill by 18 months, transport panel chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) quipped that "folks in the economic gang at the White House" — think economic adviser Larry Summers — "never had a shovel in their hands or a callus on their fingers. And Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-OR), who said in January that Summers "hates infrastructure," offered another no-holds-barred take last night.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Ed Schultz (viewable above), DeFazio confirmed that House Democrats are discussing plans to spend unused money from Washington’s $750 billion Wall Street bailout on job-creation programs, including infrastructure. But Summers and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner are set against the idea, DeFazio added.

"Unfortunately, the president has an adviser from Wall Street, Larry Summers, and an adviser from Wall Street, Timmy Geithner, who don’t like that idea," the Oregonian lawmaker told Schultz.

"They want to keep the money [because] there may be more needs on Wall Street, or maybe we should use it to pay down the deficit."

DeFazio went on to hint that progressive Democrats in the House are discussing a formal suggestion that Geithner and Summers be removed from their posts: "We may have to sacrifice just two more jobs to get millions back for Americans."

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