Obama Defends Stimulus as GOP Targets Spending
In his weekly address on Saturday, President Barack Obama defended the stimulus bill enacted earlier this year and strongly suggested he will not soon be ready to consider a second one. Obama said some critics of the initial bill “believed that the recovery plan should have been even larger and are already calling for a second recovery plan.— They need to be patient, he said.“As I made clear at the time it was passed, the [American] Recovery [and Reinvestment] Act was not designed to work in four months — it was designed to work over two years,— the president said. “We must let it work the way it’s supposed to, with the understanding that in any recession, unemployment tends to recover more slowly than other measures of economic activity.— In recent days, prominent Democrats like Laura Tyson, a member of the president’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) have suggested it may be time to take a look at a second stimulus.Obama also sought to defend against Republican attacks on the legislation, arguing that without it the economy would have been in worse shape and that its implementation is picking up.“Crucially, this is a plan that will also accelerate greatly throughout the summer and the fall,— he said. “It’s led to new jobs building roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects, thousands of which are only beginning now. In the months to come, thousands more projects will begin, leading to additional jobs.— Delivering the GOP response, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) seized on job losses and the unexpectedly high unemployment rate to slam the stimulus as a waste of scarce money. “The president, in tandem with Democrats in Congress, have pushed through a $787 billion bill full of pork-barrel spending, government waste and massive borrowing cleverly called stimulus,’— Cantor said. “There is no doubt that our nation faces many challenges, but the plain truth is that President Obama’s economic decisions have not produced jobs, have not produced prosperity and have not worked. President Obama has already asked you to borrow trillions, and so far nearly 3 million jobs have been lost this year alone.— Cantor sought to officially move responsibility for the economic situation from former President George W. Bush to Obama. “Simply put, this is now President Obama’s economy,— Cantor said.