US president Barack Obama has said that the unused money under the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) could be used to cut the US deficit and boost jobs.
''TARP has turned out to be much cheaper than we had expected although not cheap,'' he told reporters yesterday at the White House after his meeting with Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said on Friday that the president is likely to discuss such a plan during a speech today at the Brookings Institution.
According to reports, the long-term cost of the TARP will be $200 billion less than the Obama administration's August estimate of $341 billion.
"This means that some of the unused amount can be devoted to deficit reduction and the question is, are there selective approaches that are consistent with the original goals of TARP - for example, making sure that small business are still getting lending that would be appropriate in accelerating job growth'', he said.
The figures released early this month by the labor department shows that the US unemployment rate fell in November to 10 per cent from 10.2 per cent in October.