Ryan opposed the stimulus, but letters from his office request funds. Soledad O'Brien looks at claims from both sides.
After billions of federal stimulus dollars pledged to build a new rail line, the project is plagued with problems.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/08/03/senators.stimulus.spending/t1larg.jpg caption="A visitor center at Mount St. Helens, seen in 2004, is now closed, but got new windows under a stimulus project."]
Monkeys on cocaine. New windows for a closed visitor center. Modern dance as a tool for software development.
A report to be released Tuesday by conservative Republican Sens. Tom Coburn and John McCain cited these and 97 other projects as leading examples of misguided or wasteful spending under the Obama administration's $862 billion economic stimulus bill.
Titled "Summertime Blues," the report is the third by the two senators targeting projects that they say fail to meet the job-creation goal of spending under the Recovery Act of 2009.
"We owe it to all Americans that are paying taxes and struggling to find jobs, to rebuild our economy without doing additional harm, and to do it in a way that expands opportunities for future generations," said the introduction to the report by Coburn, R-Oklahoma, and McCain, R-Arizona. "Too many stimulus projects are failing to meet that goal."
While some projects in the report "may have merit," they are "being mismanaged or were poorly planned," the report said.
The Recovery Act, which was passed a few weeks after President Barack Obama took office, was a government-funded effort to kick-start economic activity in response to the ongoing recession.
It called for "shovel-ready" jobs - from road and bridge repair and construction to scientific research and expanded broadband and wireless service - through federal contracts, grants and loans, as well as helping state and local governments avoid layoffs and funding tax cuts.
The senators' report challenged the viability or effectiveness of specific projects across the country. However, the report's use of selected information from hundreds of footnoted sources left it unclear whether the brief summaries of each project told the whole story.
Staff Reporter, CNN Money
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/04/23/obama.immigration/smlvid.obamaresponds.gi.jpg caption="Economists think the government's stimulus package and jobs bill had little to do with the economic rebound" width=300 height=169]
The recovery is picking up steam as employers boost payrolls, but economists think the government's stimulus package and jobs bill had little to do with the rebound, according to a survey released Monday.
In latest quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economics, the index that measures employment showed job growth for the first time in two years - but a majority of respondents felt the fiscal stimulus had no impact.
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One year ago today, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Investment Act. He called it "the most sweeping economic recovery package in our history" at a time when many feared the United States was on the brink of another depression.
To mark the anniversary, the president is launching something of a media blitz, dispatching Cabinet members across the country to share stimulus success stories and counter critics' accounts of stimulus shortcomings and waste. To help you weigh the stimulus progress, or lack thereof, the CNN Fact Desk thought it would be helpful to look back at what the stimulus was supposed to do in the first place.
Fact Check: What did President Obama promise the $862 billion stimulus plan would achieve when he signed it into law one year ago?
- Obama said the plan would "create or save three and a half million jobs over the next two years ... putting Americans to work doing the work that America needs done in critical areas that have been neglected for too long - work that will bring real and lasting change for generations to come."
One year later, the Congressional Budget Office says between 800,000 and 2.4 million jobs have been funded by stimulus money.
- The president said money would be used to upgrade transportation and information networks, "remaking the American landscape with the largest new investment in our nation's infrastructure since President Dwight Eisenhower authorized the building of an interstate highway system in the 1950s. Because of this investment, nearly 400,000 men and women will go to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, repairing our dams and levees, bringing critical broadband connections to businesses and homes in nearly every community in America."
One year later, the Transportation Department says stimulus money has funded more than 12,500 transportation projects and work has begun on bringing broadband Internet to communities with little or no Internet access.
- Under the plan, the president said, "we are making the largest
investment in education in our nation's history ... that will create jobs building 21st century classrooms, libraries, and labs for millions of children" and "provide funds to train a new generation of math and science teachers."
One year later, the Education Department says it has received $100 billion in stimulus funds, and has awarded $69 billion to states and other recipients through grants. Plans to start building and upgrading facilities are under way, it says.
- Obama said the bill would "create a $2,500 annual tax credit to put the dream of a college degree within reach for middle class families and make college affordable for 7 million students." The credit actually provides "up to" $2,500 for low-income and middle-income students, and is phased out as incomes increase.
- He said money would be spent on "computerizing America's medical records - to reduce the duplication and waste that costs billions of health care dollars and the medical errors that every year cost thousands of lives."
A year later, $20 billion in Medicaid incentives is being dedicated to hospitals and doctors' offices to digitize health records. It will be paid out over the next three to four years.
- He said it would encourage energy independence by "laying the groundwork for a new, green energy economy that can create countless
well-paying jobs" and "double the amount of renewable energy produced over the next three years."
One year later, the Energy Department says more than $1 billion in stimulus grants have financed at least 32 projects nationwide and helped revive the renewable energy industry. And the United States appears to be on track to double renewable energy production as the president said, although it remains a small percentage of the total output.
- The president said tax cuts would account for nearly a third of the money in the bill, with "95 percent of hardworking families" getting bigger paychecks through decreased federal tax withholding. And he said the bill would provide larger unemployment checks to millions of out-of-work Americans.
One year later, most Americans are seeing bigger unemployment checks and increases in paychecks due to reduced withholding.
- Other promises included creation of a "newer, smarter electric grid" and the "weatherizing of over 1 million homes" to help Americans save on their electric bills. The Energy Department's Weatherization Assistance Program got a $500 billion stimulus boost, but has managed to spend only $441 million, raising questions about the program's effectiveness.
- The president promised all this would happen "without earmarks or the usual pork barrel spending" and "with an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability." We'll let the pundits and politicians settle this one!
Bottom Line: Most of the promises outlined by the president last year are being worked on, according to those keeping official track. But the American
Recovery and Investment Act signed in February 2009 was a two-year commitment, so it's only at the halfway point, and less than half the money has been spent.
And while the stimulus has clearly provided benefits to many Americans, there are accounts of fraud and waste amid the success stories. You can continue to check the progress and track how the money is being spent at cnn.com/stimulus as well as the government's official Web site, http://www.recovery.gov.
- CNN's Rachel Streitfeld, David Golfman, Josh Levs and Steve Hargreaves contributed to this Fact Check.
Got something that needs checking? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/02/17/economic.stimulus.2010/t1larg.construction.gi.jpg caption="Road construction workers collect cones on a project funded by federal stimulus funds in Littleton, Colorado."]
As members of the Obama administration on Wednesday tout stimulus successes across the country, they won't be highlighting its other effects - the death of bipartisanship and the rise of the Tea Party movement.
The $862 billion economic stimulus package "was never intended to save every job," Obama said on Wednesday at the White House marking the anniversary of his signing the bill. "Businesses are the true engine of growth (and) always will be. But during a recession ... what government can do is provide a temporary boost."
The program, he said, has "run cleanly, smoothly and transparently."
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/08/biden.health.care/art.vp.biden.cnn.jpg caption="Vice President Joe Biden will release his annual stimulus progress report on Wednesday."]
Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of the stimulus bill, and from here on out the pace of spending should pick up, according to administration officials.
The federal government expects to distribute $32 billion in Recovery Act funds per month, up from an average $27 billion a month over the past year, according to Vice President Joe Biden, who will release his annual stimulus progress report on Wednesday.
"...the year ahead will see a capitalizing on an inventory of work that is awarded and "ready to go"," according to the report.
The report comes on the one-year anniversary of the largest economic stimulus program in the nation's history. The controversial $787 billion program has elicited both praise and scorn from many sectors of the country.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/POLITICS/01/09/white.house.emails/art.white.house.cnn.jpg caption="CNN Fact Check has found White House figures on jobs created under the stimulus 'unreliable'."]
On Saturday, the administration reported that stimulus money funded nearly 600,000 jobs in the fourth quarter of 2009. The figure is based on responses from about 160,000 recipients of stimulus funds. Previously, the White House reported 640,329 jobs were created or saved through September 30.
This number was criticized because some recipients might have reported "saving" people who would not have been laid off. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, called the number "misleading and unreliable."
Fact Check: Are White House-reported figures on the number of jobs created under the stimulus plan unreliable?
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/01/art.obama.0201.gi.jpg caption="A new laundry list of projects and a second stimulus plan will not help the president reconnect to the voters."]
Special to CNN
The White House is willing to admit after the drubbing in Massachusetts last week that President Obama has lost a key connection to middle-class voters.
It was refreshing to hear the president acknowledge that political reality during his State of the Union address. But a new laundry list of projects and a second stimulus plan couched as a jobs plan will not help the president reconnect to those voters - or even reboot his agenda, despite his best attempt this week.
Barack Obama took to the podium before a joint session of Congress with an exceedingly difficult balancing act. He needed, on one hand, to show voters that he is concerned about spending and, on the other hand, to unveil policy initiatives for the coming year. Policy initiatives equal spending to most voters.