President Obama has advocated reallocating TARP money which has been returned by various banks to instead be spent on jobless programs. The President has advocated that Congress should change the TARP law to allow for this use.
I strongly disagree with the President - not because jobless benefits aren't needed, but rather because his first responsibility is to maintain faith with the people of this country. TARP (or Troubled Asset Relief Program) dollars were designed to keep teetering banks afloat by relieving them of their so-called toxic assets - assets like Credit Default Swaps and other forms of real estate Derivatives. Presidents Bush and Obama both assured us it was necessary to avoid economic calamity. Considering how manifestly juxtaposed both men were politically, when two people of such disparate views advocate the same thing, I tend to think they are putting aside political strife and that it probably was true, we needed to act.
That said, if banks which took money now say they no longer need it, and are returning it to relieve themselves of oversight or limitations on pay or for whatever reason, then the money should simply go back into the general funds and be used to limit/reduce the debt for this fiscal year NOT be redirected at the whim of the President and Congress. One of the key distinguishers *supposedly* between Bush - who would call up down - such as saying we were bringing about regime change in Iraq if Iraq changed it's mind about WMD inspections - and Obama, was that Obama promised to NOT pass bills in the middle of the night, not try to sneak things (like say, yellow-cake in Niger) by us. This looks like the same old games, and it's wrong.
The proper way to pass a law is to do just that, propose the law for it's intended purpose, argue it, vote on it, and if it's passed, sign it. If we need another $300B in jobless benefits, then promote that, gain public approval, be transparent, and move forward. Do not burden the public with more debt without their explicit and direct consent as represented by their representatives arguing the point on the floor of Congress on its own merits and then agreeing to fund it. That's how it is properly and fairly done, and no other way.