Republicans used new information about reporting errors in how the stimulus funds were spent to continue their criticism of the $787 billion economic package.
Government Accountability Office (GAO) told House members Thursday that
administration data suggesting the stimulus directly created more than
640,000 jobs contained flaws and that the methods used to track
stimulus money need to be improved.
The GAO called
for a closer look at a quarter of the 57,000 reports filed. About 4,000
of the reports from state governments, companies and other stimulus
recipients showed that their stimulus projects saved or created jobs
with no money being received or spent. Another 9,247 reports showed
money received or spent but didn’t show any jobs saved or created.
are being used for appropriate purposes, but the question remains: How
many jobs are being created?” said Gene Dodaro, acting comptroller
general and head of the GAO, at a House Oversight and Government Reform
Other news reports have found stimulus data
that suggest jobs were saved or created in congressional districts that
don’t exist, such as the 99th district of California. A Wall Street
Journal analysis said that the direct stimulus jobs tally, touted by
Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse clears bill to provide veterans with cost-of-living adjustment On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default To reduce poverty, stop burdening the poor: What Joe Manchin gets wrong about the child tax credit MORE as evidence that the package was working, was
overstated by at least 20,000 jobs, due to reporting mistakes by
Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.), the senior Republican
on the Oversight Committee, said the stimulus data was “misleading” and
accused the Obama administration of peddling “propaganda.”
“The fact is, they have no idea how many jobs have been saved or created,” Issa said.
Devaney, head of the administration panel responsible for tracking the
stimulus funds, acknowledged that flaws in the reports were an
“embarrassment.” But he said he wasn’t surprised by the mistakes,
arguing that they were an inevitable part of the administration’s
effort to be as transparent as possible.
“It’s harder to
practice transparency than it is to talk about transparency,” Devaney
told the House panel. “It is definitely not something for the faint of
Democrats haven’t given up on the first stimulus.
The White House pointed out that its estimates that the stimulus has
created or saved approximately 1 million jobs through September is
roughly equal to independent estimates by Moody’s and the Congressional
Unlike the hard count of 640,329 jobs
released last month, the higher estimates are based on macroeconomic
data that includes the indirect job-creation effects of tax cuts and
Other Democrats on the Oversight panel noted that less than a quarter of the stimulus has been spent so far.
committee’s chairman, Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), told The Hill that
errors in the reporting should be corrected immediately, but he argued
that the economy would be worse if not for the $787 billion package.
noted that the economy grew in the third quarter for the first time
since 2007, and that the jobless rate, which has risen to a 26-year
high of 10.2 percent, typically lags behind GDP growth.
Still, Towns and other Democrats called for further legislation to create jobs.
leadership in both chambers have signaled that they plan to take up new
jobs-creation legislation, and a bipartisan group of 161 House members
calling themselves the Congressional Jobs Now Caucus plan to hash out
new jobs proposals. The caucus is led by Reps. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.),
Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Candice MIller (R-Mich.).Rep. Diane Watson
(D-Calif.), a member of the Jobs Now Caucus, said that new measures
need to be focused on jobs alone.
“I think we have to do a better job of directing that money to job creation and not to a bureaucracy,” Watson told The Hill. “Starting in the new year, it has to be jobs, jobs, jobs.”
This story was updated at 9:55 p.m.