Rep. Peter DeFazio called for the firing of President Barack Obama’s top two economic aides on Wednesday for pursuing a recovery plan skewed too heavily towards Wall Street’s favor.
The Oregon Democrat told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz that he was dismayed with the administration’s lack of focus on job creation and insisted it was time to dismiss both White House economic adviser Larry Summers and Treasury Secretary “Timmy Geithner.”
“We think it is time, maybe, that we turn our focus to Main Street — we reclaim some of the unspent [TARP] funds, we reclaim some of the funds that are being paid back, which will not be paid back in full, and we use it to put people back to work. Rebuilding America’s infrastructure is a tried and true way to put people back to work,” said DeFazio.
“Unfortunately, the President has an adviser from Wall Street, Larry Summers, and a Treasury Secretary from Wall Street, Timmy Geithner, who don’t like that idea,” he added. “They want to keep the TARP money either to continue to bail out Wall Street…or to pay down the deficit. That’s absurd.”
Asked specifically whether Geithner should stay in his job, DeFazio replied: “No.
“Especially if you look back at the AIG scandal,” he added, “and Goldman and others who got their bets paid off in full…with taxpayer money through AIG. We channeled the money through them. Geithner would not answer my question when I said, ‘Were those naked credit default swaps by Goldman or were they a counter-party?’ He would not answer that question.”
DeFazio said that among he and others in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, there was a growing consensus that Geithner needed to be removed. He added that some lawmakers were “considering questions regarding him and other economic advisers” — though a petition calling for the Treasury Secretary’s removal had not been drafted, he said.
“[Obama] is being failed by his economic team,” DeFazio concluded. “We may have to sacrifice just two more jobs to get millions back for Americans.”