VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.: I know it's the Christmas season, but President-elect Obama and I are absolutely, absolutely determined that this economic recovery package will not become a Christmas tree. Every dollar will be closely watched to make sure it's being used in an effective manner. We'll spend what we need to turn this economy around, and no more.
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TAPPER: No Christmas tree, no pork or earmarks in this bill, but per President-elect Obama's request, the nation's mayors have put together a list of what they call shovel-ready projects. You talked about that a second ago, Senator Brown. Some of them might look an awful lot like pork to the average voter. For instance, in Akron, Ohio, Senator Brown, a request for $14 million to construct a 100-room hotel next to the convention and visitors bureau there. That would create 25 jobs. And about 45 minutes from you, Senator Corker, in the city of Cleveland, Tennessee, a town of only 37,000 people, they want $10 million to construct an airport, even though they're already less than an hour from the Chattanooga airport.
Senator Corker, you talked about this needs to be projects that needs to be done. Are these worthy projects? What should the standard be for Congress to allocate money?
CORKER: Well, I think that's where it's really tough. Look, you know, Cleveland is very close to us here. They, you know, to me, those type of projects, whatever they are, ought to maintain whatever federal match is necessary.
What we don't need to do -- I think the worst idea that I've heard put forth so far is just straight grants to cities and states. There are cities and states out that are having difficulty seeking financing, and helping them borrow money possibly through -- I know the auction rate facilities have been shut down for some time. Many municipalities access that from the standpoint of funding.
But again, straight grants to cities and states to me are exactly the wrong thing to do. We need to keep the matches in place. It needs to be the kind of thing -- look, if the city of Cleveland is willing to put up their share and this actually fits within the FAA ground rules, fine. But again, causing projects to happen that wouldn't happen otherwise is not what we ought to be doing.
TAPPER: Senator Brown, I want to turn to the money allocated for Wall Street. This month, the Government Accountability Office issued a report on that $700 billion in funds, expressing concerns about the lack of oversight.
ABC News business unit asked 16 of the banks that have received billions from the Treasury Department. Only one bank was able to point to a specific example of a recent loan. And not one of the 16 would disclose how much they're paying in bonuses to executives.
Are you concerned, at all, about this money? And what can you do about it?
BROWN: Well, it's outrageous, I think, how Treasury has invested, if you will -- spent this $350 billion of the $700 billion, so far, on the -- with little accountability, even though Congress very specifically called for accountability in these -- in the distribution of these dollars.
There is still too much -- there is still money going into executive bonuses, into dividends.
The money has not been accounted for. It made the auto situation much more difficult because people -- it really poisoned the well for government involvement, anyway.