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.
So my view on this is, with a new secretary of the Treasury, that we're going to see a -- we're going to see a very different release of this money. We're going to see more ties to requirements that this money unfreeze credit, as Senator Corker suggested a minute ago.
That, coupled with what we need to do with the stimulus package, is what, over time, is going to get this economy going.
And let me -- let me -- a couple of real quick comments on your last question to Senator Corker on the stimulus package. I -- part of it needs to be a middle-class tax cut to put money into the economy, to unleash consumer spending.
And part of it is -- you mentioned those projects in Cleveland, Tennessee and Akron, Ohio. Every one of these projects -- this is not going to be a bunch -- this can't be pork. It can't bee seen as a Christmas tree, as Vice President-elect Biden says.
It needs to be money, one, that will -- investment that will bring job growth, not jobs to build that project itself. It needs to be in categories, like the combined sewage overflow situation in my state and all over the country, where these water and sewer systems are old and really are a threat to public health, and they will create long-term jobs, if you invest the way that you need to.
That's not pork; it's not earmarks. It's categories of assistance that the states need.
We also will put significant money into Medicaid, because there are people particularly hurting, with this economy, in food banks, food stamps, Medicaid, extension of unemployment, which Congress did earlier.
All of this will put money into people's pockets that they will spend, increasing consumer spending. And even though we are not at the worst part of this recession yet, according to President-elect Obama and most economists, it will set the stage for longer-term economic growth.
TAPPER: OK. Unfortunately, that's all the time we have this morning.
Senator Corker, before we go, we know that residents of your state are experiencing a huge environmental disaster with the spill of that coal ash. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.
Senators Corker and Brown, thanks for joining us, and happy New Year to you both.
CORKER: Thank you.
BROWN: Thanks, and to you.
CORKER: Thank you.
TAPPER: For Robert Gibbs, life has been a perennial campaign, usually standing behind or at Mr. Obama's side as an adviser and spokesman.
GIBBS: How's everyone doing tonight?
TAPPER (voice over): That's about to change. The 37-year-old Alabaman will soon become the internationally known face of the next administration, standing at this podium under the harsh daily glare of TV lights.
I talked exclusively with Gibbs earlier this week and had some of his predecessors offer advice.