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Monday, June 22, 2009

Nothing to "Call Out" Yet, Apparently

While it is expected that President Obama would defend the signature accomplishment of his young term in office, for him to argue that every stimulus project funded thus far has been worthwhile may be a bit of a stretch:
It's been four months, and still President Obama has yet to criticize publicly a single project from the $787 billion economic stimulus spending package, despite his Feb. 20 pledge that if federal or state agencies tried to slip any bad spending through, he would "call them out."

With 20,000 expenditures approved, the complaints about bum projects are piling up. Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, released a report last week identifying 100 projects he said were wasteful or silly. But the Obama administration has refused to accept any of his criticisms and is defending the spending, from bike paths to turtle bridges to $300 road signs advertising that stimulus money paid for the project.
At the same time, yet another pesky USA Today report shows that funding for projects overseen by the Army Corps of Engineer’s may not be based on need as much as which members of Congress sit on the agency’s oversight board:
President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress say the $787 billion stimulus package didn't contain any money for projects requested by members of Congress. However, the stimulus law directs the corps to spend its extra funding on current projects — which were all selected by Congress in past spending bills.

The states getting the most money — California, Mississippi, Illinois, Texas and Florida — all have lawmakers serving on the appropriations committees. The seven states getting no corps stimulus funding include Michigan, which has the nation's highest unemployment rate but no members on the energy and water spending panels in either chamber.

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