Happy birthday to the stimulus
February 17th, 2011
12:32 PM ET
11 years ago

Happy birthday to the stimulus

Washington (CNN) - February 17th marks the two year anniversary of the stimulus package as well as the two year anniversary of politicians and political organizations using the measure as a political football.

Signed into law by President Obama in February 2009, the bill passed Congress with minimal Republican support. Democrats said it would encourage job creation and promote investment. Republicans criticized the original $787 billion price-tag and argued that it green lighted new spending instead of tax cuts. Thursday GOP groups continued their critique of the measure and President Obama.

"What has been the result of nearly $1 trillion spent on the so-called 'stimulus'? Twenty-one months of unemployment at or above 9 percent, 2.6 million jobs lost, unsustainable budget deficits and an ever-growing national debt," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement Thursday.

"Unfortunately, during the past two years, the $814 billion stimulus effort has failed to produce the jobs and economic recovery that had been promised," a statement from the National Republican Congressional Committee reads.

Democratic groups have been noticeably quiet today, but the president has not shied away from publically plugging the bill in the past. The Obama administration credits the measure with saving or creating two million jobs and Vice President Joe Biden will commemorate the occasion by releasing a lessons-learned report titled "Competition Brings Results" at a cabinet meeting today.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will be on hand to talk about how funding can promote good government and encourage innovation.

"One year later, it is largely thanks to the recovery act that a second depression is no longer a possibility," the president said on the one-year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. "It's laying out the foundation for where we need to go."

White House spokesperson Liz Oxhorn said the act is credited with "saving as many as 3.6 million jobs and lowering the unemployment rate by as much as 2 percent."

"We agree with the experts that the Recovery Act helped rescue the economy in a time of crisis – now it's time to work together on winning the future by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building the rest of the world," Oxhorn said in a statement.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee released a web video Thursday targeting vulnerable senators who are up for re-election in 2012 and voted for the measure. The spot shows Democratic senators, including Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson and Montana Sen. Jon Tester, touting the bill. The video juxtaposes their comments with the unemployment rates in their respective states.

"Two years of liberal economics have failed America," the ad reads. "Happy anniversary."

In an e-mail, NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh said the anniversary "seemed like an important point to look back on what they said then, versus the current economic situation their respective states are in today."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell detailed the pork in the bill as an example of what "the administration meant by investment."

"If you can't cut a turtle tunnel when the country is 14 trillion dollars in the hole you've got problems," the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor Thursday. "The bottom line here is that two years after the president told us he was investing in our future here is what we have to show for it: higher unemployment than was predicted and trillions, trillions more in debt."

- CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry contributed to this report

Filed under: Congress • President Obama • Stimulus
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Michael

    The stimulus prevented this country from falling deeper into the hole that Dubya, et al, created. Much of the pork in the stimulus bill was added by the GOP and whenever a push came to address issues, the "Party of No" was right there, up front, stalling or watering down every attempt to make things better for the majority instead of the wealthy miinority. They didn't like the stimulus because it cut taxes on the middle class, which, by the way, are the bread winners in this country, and not on the wealthy. My heart pumps peanut butter for those making obscene amounts of money. Sorry, but my mantra has always been, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

    February 17, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. Bob in PA

    The biggest crock of ca-ca hatched by Obama and his cronies.

    February 17, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. Marcus

    Fair is Fair AKA 'Falsa is False', besides those who FAUX News have to hunt for (they are pretty rare these days) even the economists that were against the stimulus agrees that the USA would be in a worse situation today without the stimulus.
    So please stop making a fool of yourself. It wasn't a failure no matter how much you wish to believe in it.

    February 17, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  4. T'sah from Virginia

    [And unemployment went 2 full percentage points higher than Mr. Wonderful said it would. Abject failure, just like the rest of his "transformational" presidency. Hurry up, 2012.]..............

    And then it went DOWN a POINT and still stands @ 9 when the RepubliCAN'Ts said they were going to CREATE JOBS – it's been two months – where are the JOBS!!! And what makes it more "sickening" – the RepubliCAN'Ts are posing TREMENDOUS cuts that will kill even MORE JOBS – SO BE IT they say!!!!!! So who really cares about the American people and JOB CREATION????????????

    Hurry up 2012, when President Obama gets reelected, so it can be RUBBED in everyone's face that thinks otherwise!!!

    February 17, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. JMR49

    GOP is anti American. They know they've got one chance in 2012 and that's a high unemployment rate, so that is the strategy now. Disavow any jobs created, layoff 100's of thousands of gov't employees, fight for tax credits for corporations who outsource jobs, make health care unafforable for small business. All this chatter about jobs, not a single GOP sponsored bill in existance to create jobs. Half a dozen anti choice bills. Disgusting.

    February 17, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
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