White House Hits Back at Boehner Over Job Figures

Posted December 1, 2009 at 5:32pm

The White House on Tuesday returned fire at top House Republicans in a spat over the bookkeeping for the economic stimulus package, with the administration contending it accurately touted the measure’s job-creating achievements.The back-and-forth nominally centers on whether the White House is justified in claiming the $787 stimulus package has saved or created more than 1 million jobs since its enactment earlier this year. In a Tuesday letter to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), Ed DeSeve, the administration’s point man on day-to-day implementation of the package, pointed to a Monday estimate from the Congressional Budget Office that found the bill has created or saved between 600,000 and 1.6 million jobs. “There is nothing mysterious, ephemeral, or uncertain about the important role the Recovery Act has played in saving the jobs of hundreds of thousands of Americans,— DeSeve wrote.The missive came in response to a Nov. 24 letter that Boehner and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), ranking member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote to Vice President Joseph Biden asking him to stop using job-saving figures they called “misleading and inaccurate.—“It is time to face the fact that the stimulus was based on outdated and discredited economic theories that have allowed massive job losses to continue throughout the year,— they wrote. Responding to the White House’s response on Tuesday evening, Boehner blasted the administration for “trying to scam the American people by continuing to repeat their phony ‘stimulus’ claims, including the number of jobs ‘saved or created,’ a metric it seems to have made up out of thin air.—The parties have debated the efficacy of the stimulus package since House Republicans opposed it en bloc in February. But the sniping is heating up now that the Democrats’ economic performance is retaking center stage. President Barack Obama on Thursday is convening a jobs summit aimed at tackling the 10.2 percent unemployment rate. And Congressional Democrats are in discussions to develop another legislative package to goose hiring. On the stimulus, the White House has recently suffered a rash of embarrassing press about inaccuracies in its reporting of jobs saved and created by the bill. DeSeve argued that the figures, “though subject to revision, will not change dramatically— and called the 1 million jobs number “irrefutable.—