The $700 billion financial bailout package enacted by Congress isn't meant to be a "piggy bank" for lawmakers, an author of that legislation said Monday.
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), who was one of the Republican negotiators last year to help craft the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), excoriated Democrats' plans to use some of the excess funds from that program to fund a new jobs bill.
"It violates the law," Gregg said of the plan during an interview on the Fox Business Network. "The purpose of TARP was to settle out the financial industry when we were on the verge of calamity."
The TARP legislation as currently written requires leftover or repaid funds from the program to go to deficit reduction, potentially requiring a change in the law to use the excess funds for a jobs bill.
"It was not and is not supposed to be a piggy bank for members of Congress to spend on whatever their special interest issue is of the day, or the constituency or interest they want to take care of in the next election," Gregg said.
President Barack Obama is expected to lay out some of his ideas for bolstering job growth in a speech on Tuesday, a plan which may urge drawing on the leftover bailout funds.
"Under the law, and I wrote this so I know it, money when it comes back in...is supposed to go to reduce the debt," said Gregg, who argued that the program had already contributed to job creation by staving off a collapse among large financial institutions.