WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) - The Obama administration estimates that the economic stimulus plan will create or save 750,000 jobs by early August, a senior administration official said on Monday.
The comments came as the administration's Council on Economic Advisers released a report that explained the methodology behind its estimates for how many jobs will be created by the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Grandparents, retirees and struggling seniors have waited months for this.
Tens of millions of Social Security recipients will see their bank accounts jump by $250 starting Thursday, when the government began sending out checks and transferring funds for a one-time boost coming from the stimulus bill passed in February.
The payments are flowing to nearly 55 million seniors and retirees between now and June fourth, with a huge chunk of checks hitting the mail this week.
"Approximately half of them will be out in the next day or two," Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue told CNN Thursday.
(CNN) – President Obama has finally responded personally to the so-called the "tea party" movement – a move amongst some conservatives that criticizes the new administration's policies on taxes, spending, and borrowing during a national economic crisis.
Those critics, he said, were "just waving tea bags around."
"I know you've been hearing all these arguments about, oh, 'Obama is just spending crazy,'" the president said at a town hall event in Arnold, Missouri Wednesday. "Well, let me make a point. Number one, we inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit - that wasn't from my - that wasn't me."
"Number two, there is almost uniform consensus among economists that in the middle of the biggest crisis - financial crisis since the Great Depression, we had to take extraordinary steps. So you've got a lot of Republican economists who agree that we had to do a stimulus package and we had to do something about the banks."
The president told the audience that the federal government's biggest long term fiscal challenges are its commitments for Medicare and Medicaid.
"That's why I've said we've got to have health reform this year - to drive down costs and make health care affordable for American families, businesses and for our government," said Obama.
On his 100th day in office, Obama said he would like to have a "serious" discussion" about how the federal government can rein in spending and meet its long term obligations.
"So, you know, when you see - those of you who are watching certain news channels on which I'm not very popular and you see folks waving tea bags around, let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we're going to stabilize Social Security."
(CNN) – South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is sticking to his guns – but leaving all of his options open – when it comes to $700 million in disputed stimulus funds at the center of a multi-sided dispute involving federal and state lawmakers.
The governor is hoping to reach an agreement with the legislature that would allow state funds to be used to pay down debt, Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer told CNN Monday. If an agreement is reached, then Sanford will complete the process of applying for the $700 million in funds available from the federal stimulus package.
(CNN) – South Carolina’s Republican governor called on President Obama Monday to call a halt to a Democratic ad that slams him over his position on stimulus spending.
Mark Sanford ended up in the crosshairs of the Democratic National Committee late last week after he announced his decision to seek permission from the White House to use $700 million in the stimulus funds due his state to pay down debt.
“South Carolina is facing tough times – but Governor Sanford is playing politics instead of doing what’s right,” says the announcer in a DNC television spot that begins airing Monday in Columbia, South Carolina. “Turning down millions in recovery act funds, putting politics ahead of health care, jobs and schools.”
Sanford, who criticized the ad Friday, said Monday that President Obama should use his influence to pull the ad from the airwaves. “I don't think this approach of targeting ads against anyone who sees an issue a little differently represents the kind of so-called 'change' many people were voting for in November,” said Sanford.
The decision to seek use the $700 million – or roughly a quarter of the total money due South Carolina from Obama’s stimulus package – “still means a $2.1 billion spending windfall would come to our state,” Sanford also said Monday. “[A]nd one has to ask isn’t there a point when enough is enough in spending money we don’t have?”
After quoting from Obama’s inaugural address, Sanford “respectfully ask[s] [Obama] to end this ad . . . . and to ask his Democratic National Committee to put an end to this mudslinging and get back to an honest debate about the future of our country.”
In a Friday statement, a spokesman for Sanford called the stimulus money “a federal predatory loan, the cost of which will be borne by future generations who will never have a chance to vote from office the very people who are saddling them with unprecedented spending and guaranteed future tax increases.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama vowed Monday to ease the financial plight of the nation's small businesses, promising immediate action to revive frozen credit markets.
Obama made his remarks to reporters after he and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner met in the White House with representatives of the Small Business Administration.
The president called small businesses "one of the biggest drivers of employment that we have" and said his administration is "working diligently to increase liquidity throughout the financial system."
But he cautioned it will be a long-term effort. "Understand, this is still going to be a first step in what is going to be a continuing effort to make sure people get credit out there," he said.
Many small businesses, drowning from dried-up coffers and unpaid bills, are having a tough time getting loans from lenders.
DILLON, South Carolina (CNN) - Ty'Sheoma Bethea felt she had to speak up.
Her school was crumbling, and Congress was not going to approve money that could be used to rebuild it. So she wrote a letter to lawmakers begging for help.
"I said we're not quitters and we can make a change," Ty'Sheoma said. "And we're just students who want to be lawyers, doctors, congressmen and also presidents."
The letter made its way to the Oval Office and brought an extraordinary invitation. The White House sat the 14-year-old eighth-grader next to first lady Michelle Obama at the president's "state of the nation" address to Congress last month.
It seemed help was on the way. New stimulus money was coming from Washington, and Ty'Sheoma thought her school, JV Martin Junior High in Dillon, South Carolina, would finally be rebuilt. But her governor, Mark Sanford, announced he wouldn't use his share of the stimulus money on projects like rebuilding her school.
"It's easy to fall into the trap of we need to fix this one school," said Sanford, a Republican. "The hat that I wear is to look as best as I can - and it will be imperfect - at the state in its entirety."
Taking a stand against government spending, Sanford said he would be willing to use the $700 million in the stimulus bill only if he believes he has discretion to control paying down the state's debt.
That means Ty'Sheoma's community is left with its school, whose condition is astonishing.
WARDENSVILLE, West Virginia (CNN) - After more than 40 years and $1.5 billion, West Virginia's massive "Corridor H" project is getting another boost from the Obama administration's economic stimulus package, despite questions over whether the project will ever be completed.
The plan is to build a 100-mile, four-lane highway through the Appalachian Mountains, connecting West Virginia to the eastern seaboard. It has been receiving federal money for decades, largely due to Sen. Robert Byrd, the Democrat who has represented West Virginia in the Senate since 1958.
Byrd has steered hundreds of millions of dollars to the project, including a $9.5 million earmark in the $410 billion spending bill signed by the president Wednesday. Another $21 million will come from the nearly $800 billion economic stimulus bill Obama signed into law in February.
Corridor H has been billed as a way to promote economic development in the impoverished state. But most of it remains on the drawing board. It's not projected to be complete until 2035 - and neighboring Virginia says it has no plans to add on to the eastern end of the highway, meaning the road will end in West Virginia, 10 miles from the state line.
So why keep building it?
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden told a group of state leaders Thursday that the Obama administration is set to unveil a series of regulations restricting the use of funds from the recently-enacted economic stimulus plan.
The new rules are expected to be rolled out on Friday.
The government needs to go "above and beyond the typical ways of doing business" to help the economy, President Obama said at a White House conference on best practices for implementing the $787 billion package.
His comments came as he joined the conference. Biden addressed attendees earlier in the day.
Obama said if money is being misspent, "we will call it out and we will publicize it."
"A lot of money is coming out quickly [and] it's got to be spent wisely," the president warned.
Biden also emphasized that the new funds are not part of business as usual.
"Let's get this straight. ... This is a different deal," the vice president said. "This is not your usual federal grant going to the states."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The high interest in receiving grant money from the White House’s $787 billion stimulus package has the potential to overwhelm http://www.grants.gov, White House Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag said in memo issued Wednesday.
In recent months, the Web site, the central online portal where the public can search and apply for competitive grants from the federal government, has suffered from “noticeably degraded performance,” Orszag wrote. “In addition, [the stimulus bill] is expected to result in an approximately 60 percent additional increase in application volume to Grants.gov, putting the system at a significant risk of failure and thus potentially hampering [the bill’s] implementation.”
Read: Orszag's memo
In order to keep the site up and running, Orszag has instructed the Department of Health and Human Services, the federal agency that operates grants.gov, and the General Services Administration to develop improvements that will deal with the anticipated increase in traffic.
In the memo, Orszag also instructs federal agencies to identify alternative methods for accepting grant applications during the coming months when high interest in seeking stimulus money is expected by OMB.