The spending plans include national parks, summer youth jobs, veterans’ medical centers, police and teachers.
In remarks delivered before a meeting of his cabinet Monday, the president said he’s seen “modest progress” in the economy, citing job loss figures that beat Wall Street expectations for the month of May. Still, he said, the job losses are still too high. “I’m not satisfied,” he said. “We’ve got more work to do.”
The president promised a surge-style acceleration of stimulus spending, which he said had already saved or created 150,000 jobs so far. And he had a few words for critics who say the stimulus isn’t working: “tell that to the Americans who received that unexpected call saying ‘come back to work,’” Obama said.
Earlier in the Cabinet meeting, Vice President Joe Biden presented a Roadmap to Recovery, which the White House calls “an administration-wide effort to accelerate implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in its second 100 days.”
While the administration is sensitive to criticism that stimulus spending has been too slow, a new Gallup Poll shows danger in the other direction. For the first time, a majority of respondents disapprove of Obama on the issue of “controlling federal spending” (51 percent to 45 percent), compared with the 67 percent who view him favorably overall.
Could “deficit politics” return as the economy steadies? The poll suggests that the nation’s exploding red ink could be an issue in next year’s midterm congressional races.
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Obama also will face increasing questions not only about the deficit explosion, but uncertainty about the effectiveness of the $787 billion stimulus bill. Republicans say the “save or create” metric for jobs is meaningless, since it’s impossible to prove or disprove.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a quote provided to POLITICO: “I’m very skeptical that the spending binge that we’re on is going to produce much good and, even if it does, anytime soon.”
The President sounded a defensive note in his remarks, saying his administration inherited a collapsing economy. “Had we done nothing, I think its fair to say that most economists believe that we could have gone into a tailspin,” Obama said.
The White House is launching WhiteHouse.gov/Recovery, a new webpage “that will allow the public to follow America’s Recovery story and hear from people across the country whose lives are being influenced by the Recovery Act. “
“The new site provides snapshots of Recovery Act dollars at work, the latest Recovery news and opportunities for visitors to share their Recovery stories through comments, photos and videos, while Recovery.gov remains the go-to site for tracking Recovery Act spending,” the White House said.
Here are the projects to be spotlighted by the administration:
—Enable 1,129 Health Centers in 50 States and 8 Territories to Provide Expanded Service to Approximately 300,000 Patients – Department of Health and Human Services
—Begin Work on 107 National Parks – Department of the Interior
—Begin Work on Rehabilitation and Improvement Projects at 98 Airports and Over 1,500 Highway Locations throughout the Country – Department of Transportation
—Fund 135,000 Education Jobs Including Teachers, Principals and Support Staff – Department o Education
—Begin Improvements at 90 Veterans Medical Centers across 38 States – Department of Veterans Affairs
—Hire or Keep on the Job Approximately 5,000 Law Enforcement Officers – Department of Justice
—Start 200 New Waste and Water Systems in Rural America – United States Department of Agriculture
—Begin or Accelerate Cleanup Work at 20 Superfund Sites from the National Priority List - Environmental Protection Agency
—Create 125,000 Summer Youth Jobs – Department of Labor
—Initiate 2,300 Construction and Rehabilitation Projects at 359 Military Facilities across the Nation - Department of Defense