Washington Report

Updates from Capitol Hill

Republicans Say Recovery Act Jobs Claims Misleading

recovery_govEarl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, charged with tracking stimulus dollars, said that there are several inaccuracies in the statistics on jobs saved or created through the Recovery Act and errors in filing reports submitted by stimulus fund recipients on how the money has been spent. Testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Thursday, he said he could not certify whether the job numbers were correct.

Republicans on the panel used the hearing as an opportunity to criticize the Obama administration for making what they believe to be misleading jobs claims. Recalling a statement made by Secretary LaHood that the Recovery Act has saved or created direct 640,000 jobs so far, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) said to Devaney, “To characterize, he may be a little overzealous in saying real, identifiable, direct and, in fact, it’s just a damn estimate, isn’t it.”

A Government Accountability Office report released on Thursday also identified “a range of significant reporting and quality issues” regarding recipient data on the Recovery Act Website. It found more than 3,000 reports that “showed no dollar amount received or expended but included more than 50,000 jobs,” the report said.

During a conference call that evening, the White House senior advisor Ed DeSeve reminded reporters that Vice President Joe Biden had warned all along that the tracking system was an unprecedented undertaking and would not be perfect but the overall impact of the stimulus is irrefutable.

The hearing can be viewed here.

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