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Entries in Stimulus (7)

Friday
Oct122012

Ryan Skips Stimulus Topic at Post-Debate Breakfast

J.D. Pooley/Getty Images(Lexington, Ky.) -- Paul Ryan said Friday that he “felt great” about his debate with Vice President Biden, but declined to discuss Biden’s taunting reference to Ryan’s request for stimulus funds after criticizing the Obama administration program.

“We’re going to get through it later. We’re going to eat breakfast now,” Ryan said Friday morning when he was asked about the stimulus request as he and his family went to breakfast.

When asked if he felt “knocked around” by Biden at the debate in Danville, Ky., Thursday night he said, “No, no. It’s what I expected.”

The Republican vice presidential candidate was less talkative when asked if he regretted sending two letters requesting stimulus funds after consistently blasting the federal stimulus program.

It’s a point that his opponent brought up during the debate when Ryan attacked the stimulus.

“I love my friend here,” Biden said in one of several animated exchanges. "I’m not allowed to show letters here, but go on our website. He sent me two letters saying, by the way, can you send me some stimulus money for companies here in the state of Wisconsin?”

Ryan acknowledged requesting for funding: "On two occasions we advocated for constituents who were applying for grants.”

He added that requesting those types of funds is something members of Congress do regularly for the people in their district.

“I love that, I love that,” Biden said, while laughing. “This is such a bad program and he writes me a letter saying -- writes the Department of Energy a letter saying the reason we need this stimulus, it will create growth and jobs. His words. And now he’s sitting here looking at me.”

When it was revealed earlier in the campaign that Ryan did request funds he took responsibility for it, but said they were “treated as a constituent service requests in the same way matters involving Social Security and Veterans Affairs were handled…They should have been handled differently and I take responsibility for that.”

Accompanied by his wife Janna in a purple dress and his two sons Charlie and Sam in red Wisconsin fleeces as well as his daughter Liza, the family ate breakfast together and were greeted by applause when they entered Josie’s Grab N Go restaurant. His 7-year-old Sam was extra hungry from the late night saying to his dad, “How about pancakes and waffles?”

Joe Biden returned home to Delaware last night after the debate with his wife, Dr. Jill Biden and their family. He campaigns Friday in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug162012

Presented with Letters, Ryan Admits Requesting Stimulus Cash

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages(CINCINNATI) -- After repeated denials, Paul Ryan has admitted he requested stimulus cash even after sharply criticizing the program.

Ryan had denied doing so as recently as Wednesday, when he spoke to ABC’s Cincinnati affiliate, WCPO, in Ohio.

“I never asked for stimulus,” Ryan said. “I don’t recall… so I really can’t comment on it. I opposed the stimulus because it doesn’t work, it didn’t work.”

But as we’ve now learned, Ryan request stimulus funds.

“The Olympics may be over but Paul Ryan could have gotten a gold medal in hypocrisy,” a senior administration official told ABC’s Jake Tapper. “As someone who spends all day every day railing against government spending, but then secretly seeks millions in funds for pet projects, he is as Washington as it gets.”

In 2009, Ryan wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis asking for stimulus money to cover costs on two energy conservation projects in his home state of Wisconsin. In the letter, Ryan said the funds would help create jobs and reduce “energy consumption” in the state. At least one of the companies received the requested cash.

The letters were first obtained by The Wall Street Journal through the Freedom of Information Act back in early 2010.  The Boston Globe turned them up for the first time during this campaign season Wednesday. At that point, a Ryan aide referred ABC News back to what a Ryan spokesman said when the letters first went public.

“If Congressman Ryan is asked to help a Wisconsin entity applying for existing Federal grant funds, he does not believe flawed policy should get in the way of doing his job and providing a legitimate constituent service to his employers,” the spokesman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Thursday, Ryan responded to the questions himself.

“After having these letters called to my attention I checked into them, and they were treated as constituent service requests in the same way matters involving Social Security or Veterans Affairs are handled,” Ryan said in a statement. “This is why I didn’t recall the letters earlier. But they should have been handled differently, and I take responsibility for that."

“Regardless, it’s clear that the Obama stimulus did nothing to stimulate the economy, and now the President is asking to do it all over again.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep282011

Romney Addresses Flip-Flop Criticism at New Hampshire Town Hall

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(GOFFSTOWN, N.H.) -- Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney Wednesday responded head-on to critics who say he flip-flops on issues, telling a crowd at a New Hampshire town hall that “it’s not that every single issue I’ve looked at my entire life I’ve never changed my view on.”

While Romney never mentioned chief rival Texas Gov. Rick Perry by name, he certainly seemed to be referencing him in answering a question from a voter asking how to respond to those who question Romney’s candidacy.

Romney at first joked, “Let me give you some brass knuckles, that should help.”

But then he launched into a more serious answer, taking what sounded like veiled swipes at Perry.

“The nature of politics is that you try and find some edge to characterize your opponent and beat him over the head, and that is if you don’t have a optimistic or positive message of your own,” said Romney.

“That’s going to happen and I understand it,” he said. “It’s pretty rough and tumble and I don’t whine about that. I realized that when I got into [politics].”

Then, without specifically mentioning Perry’s latest Web video attack on Romney, which accuses him of switching his stance on Obama’s stimulus plan, Romney said, “The nice thing about writing a book is that you can read it and see what I stand for.”

“In the private sector, if you don’t change your view when the facts change, you’ll get fired for being stupid,” Romney added.

Romney also questioned whether President Obama’s chief campaign strategist had ever seen the movie Titanic, linking a comment from David Axelrod about the struggles of the Obama campaign to the infamous ship that sank and killed more than 1,500 people.

“[David Axelrod] said that the Obama campaign was going to be a ‘titanic struggle,’” said Romney. “I’m not sure he knows what that word means, I’m not sure he saw the movie.”

Romney held a town hall Wednesday at St. Anselm College in Goffstown, N.H., in the exact same room in which Axelrod spoke on Tuesday. This is Romney’s eleventh town hall since announcing his presidential campaign in June, and Wednesday he spoke in front of a replica of the debt clock, which ticked behind him as he spoke.

The former Massachusetts governor couldn’t stop himself from ribbing Axelrod for his comments, saying that comparing the campaign to a devastating ship wreck couldn’t be more appropriate.

“It’s true for a lot of reasons,” said Romney. “The captain of the ship has been inattentive, otherwise occupied or asleep for most of the voyage.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep022011

Investigators Probe White House Role in Massive Energy Loan

Ken James/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House investigators said they have uncovered evidence that White House officials became personally involved in an Energy Department review of a hot-button $535 million loan guarantee to the now-failed California solar company Solyndra.

The allegation surfaced in a letter House Energy Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) sent to the White House Thursday night, saying he planned to accelerate efforts to understand an investment deal that may have left taxpayers out half a billion dollars.

"We have learned from our investigation that White House officials monitored Solyndra's application and communicated with [Department of Energy] and Office of Management and Budget officials during the course of their review," the letter says.

Thursday's letter, which calls on the White House to turn over correspondence between administration officials, Solyndra and its investors, presents the most pointed suggestion that the White House had direct involvement in the financing.

"How did this company, without maybe the best economic plan, all of a sudden get to the head of the line?" Upton told ABC News in an interview this week. "We want to know who made this decision ... and we're not going to stop until we get those answers."

White House officials have said in interviews that they did not intervene in the Solyndra deal or others benefiting companies backed by supporters of the president. Yet the administration, from Obama to the Department of Energy, has very publicly praised the loan guarantee.

In 2009, the Obama administration hailed the Solyndra loan as the first in a series of federal infusions for "green energy" firms that held the potential to clean up the environment and create jobs. But earlier this week, Solyndra abruptly closed its doors, announced it would file for bankruptcy and laid off more than 1,100 workers.

While Energy Department officials steadfastly vouched for Solyndra -- even after an earlier round of layoffs raised eyebrows -- other federal agencies and industry analysts for months questioned the viability of the company. Peter Lynch, a longtime solar industry analyst, told ABC News the company's fate should have been obvious from the start.

"Here's the bottom line," Lynch said. "It costs them $6 to make a unit. They're selling it for $3. In order to be competitive today, they have to sell it for between $1.5 and $2. That is not a viable business plan."

Other flags have been raised about how the Energy Department pushed the deal forward. The Center for Public Integrity's iWatch News and ABC disclosed that Energy Department officials announced the support for Solyndra even before final marketing and legal reviews were in. To government auditors, that move raised questions about just how fully the department vetted the deal -- and assessed its risk to taxpayers -- before signing off.

The White House's Office of Budget and Management viewed the arrangement as a riskier bet to taxpayers than DOE had. That forced the government to set aside millions more in case of a default, iWatch reported last month.

Republicans in Congress have raised questions for months about the Energy Department's decision to make Solyndra the poster-child for the green energy loan program. They expressed concern that so much federal money was headed to a company whose key investor was George Kaiser, an Oklahoma billionaire who raised more than $50,000 for Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. Since May, Kaiser has declined interview requests.

The Obama administration has said the loan to Solyndra came only after a thorough review by Energy Department analysts, and that no one from the White House exerted pressure to influence the decision to back the loan in 2009, or to restructure the financing this year after it became clear Solyndra was not thriving financially.

Asked about the wisdom of throwing its support behind Solyndra, Press Secretary Jay Carney said there is always risk in such a financing. But in the case of Solyndra and other green energy firms, he said, the risk is worth it.

"I think there were Republicans who thought investments in clean energy were a mistake, that they were ready to cede that vital industry to foreign competition," Carney said during Thursday's White House press briefing. "They were ready to cede the automobile industry to foreign competition, a million jobs there. I -- we just disagree on that front."

The Oklahoma-based George Kaiser Family Foundation, a prime investor in Solyndra, said in a statement cited by the Tulsa World newspaper that the company had been unable to overcome "serious challenges in the marketplace, especially the drastic decline in solar panel prices during the past two years caused in part by subsidies provided by the government of China to Chinese solar panel manufacturers."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep012011

Obama to Seek Stimulus Funds, But ‘You Won’t Hear the S Word’

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- With President Obama set to unveil his plan for job creation next week, a former White House economic adviser said Wednesday that economic “stimulus” will be part of the package, but won’t be labeled as such.

“You won’t hear the word ‘stimulus’ -- the ‘s word’ -- because that just is politically unappealing right now,” Jared Bernstein, who left his post as Vice President Joe Biden’s top economist in June, told ABC’s Top Line Wednesday.  “But you will hear targeted measures, which I think is actually a more apt description of what I think the president will talk about.”

“He’ll want to extend the payroll tax holiday.  He’ll want to extend unemployment insurance.  He’ll have some ideas for infrastructure.  Maybe something to help repair the schools -- that’s an idea that a number of us have been pushing -- a program called FAST: Fix America’s Schools Today, which could get hundreds of thousands of construction workers back to work repairing the backlog of maintenance in the nation’s stock of public schools,” Bernstein said.

“So there are good ideas out there, and it’s really a matter of the politics,” he added.

Bernstein, now a senior fellow at the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said the jobs measures already enacted under the Obama White House -- including the stimulus package that passed in early 2009 -- represented a “middle-ground” approach of targeted tax relief and additional spending.

He said those efforts “have actually helped a lot” in terms of boosting the economy, though, of course, more must be done.

“The facts of the case are that measures that the administration has taken, that Congress has supported, that the Federal Reserve has taken, have actually helped a lot.  It’s just that the hole -- the economic hole -- has been so deep that there’s just been no conceivable measure that on its own could fix everything,” Bernstein said.

“It’s just not reached the kind of escape velocity that you need for the private sector to kind of take the baton over.  So we still need the kinds of measures we’ve been doing.  We just stopped too soon,” he added.

Bernstein warned that the White House can’t be timid, even while acknowledging the political difficulties.

“The most direct way to create jobs is direct job creation,” he said.  “The most direct measures we did I think were the most successful.  Some of those were in the infrastructure side, some of those were fiscal relief to the states, which helped them retain literally hundreds of teacher, police, firefighters, sanitation workers.  Some of them were measures that we probably could have and should have done more of in terms of getting as close as we could to direct job creation.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul052011

$278K per Stimulus Job? White House Says 'No'

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is just the latest Republican to be publicizing a Weekly Standard report claiming that President Obama’s own economists claim the stimulus bill cost $278,000 per job.

The Speaker tweeted the story Tuesday morning, claiming that the “economy would be generating job growth faster if Dems hadn’t passed the ‘stimulus.’”

The Weekly Standard arrived at its figure by dividing the cost to date of the stimulus bill, $666 billion, by the low end of the estimate of how many jobs the Council of Economic Advisers reported had been created by the legislation, 2.4 million.

The Council of Economic Advisers report, issued last Friday, states that in the first quarter of 2011, the stimulus bill “has raised employment relative to what it otherwise would have been by between 2.4 and 3.6 million.”

The White House has long disputed the math of dividing the cost of the stimulus by the number of jobs created. In October 2009, White House officials noted that the spending didn't just fund salaries, it also went to the actual costs of building things -- construction materials, new factories, and such. So the math is flawed, White House officials say, since reporters are not including the permanent infrastructure in the computation, thus producing an inflated figure.

White House officials also questioned why the Weekly Standard would use the lower figure from the projection of the number of jobs created, and noted that the temporary nature of the stimulus bill meant that its impact would diminish over time, when the private sector began hiring again. In other words, the number of jobs created at its peak -- as many as 3.6 million, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s May 2011 report -- would be more appropriate, White House officials say.

Liz Ozhorn, a White House spokesman for the stimulus bill, said that the Weekly Standard report “is based on partial information and false analysis. The Recovery Act was more than a measure to create and save jobs; it was also an investment in American infrastructure, education and industries that are critical to America’s long-term success and an investment in the economic future of America’s working families.  Thanks to the Recovery Act, 110 million working families received a tax cut through the Making Work Pay tax credit, over 110,000 small businesses received critical access to capital through $27 billion in small business loans and more than 75,000 projects were started nationwide to improve our infrastructure, jumpstart emerging industries and spur local economic development.  The nonpartisan CBO has confirmed that the Recovery Act delivered as promised, lowering the unemployment rate by as much as 2 percent, boosting GDP by as much as 4 percent and creating and saving as many as 3.6 million jobs."

The administration's critics -- including those running for the president's job in 2012 -- are trumpeting the president's own claims that passing the stimulus would keep the unemployment rate below 8 percent. It is now hovering at around 9.1 nationwide, but had peaked as high as 10 percent since the bill's passage.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct212010

Republican Congressman Sessions Calls Stimulus Plan 'Excessive'

Photo Courtesy - Sessions dot House dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- As Republicans blast Democrats over the stimulus measure in the run-up to Election Day, the Center for Public Integrity this week reported that several prominent Republicans asked the Obama administration to approve stimulus funds for favored projects.

Speaking to ABC News, Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, made no apologies for seeking funds for what he described as a “shovel-ready” project in the Dallas suburb of Carrollton.  However, he said he had not followed up to find out if the money was ultimately approved.

“I have no clue whether the money was given,” said Sessions, head of the Republicans’ House campaign efforts.  “I was told that it was rejected.  I cannot tell you on the basis that it was rejected.”

Asking for stimulus dollars after voting against the stimulus was “very appropriate,” Sessions said, adding that to suggest that you could only ask for funds if you voted for the bill would be akin to “bribery.”

“After I voted, as Republicans did, against the stimulus, we believe it was very appropriate. Otherwise it would be bribery, if you have to only receive money if you voted for a bill,” Sessions said.

Sessions then ramped up his criticism of the stimulus, saying not only did it not create jobs, but that it actually “created unemployment.”

“Let me just say this: The stimulus was excessive spending that did not meet the intended targets or consequences and was the wrong thing to do and has created not only unemployment, but the big circumstance with the debt that we’re dealing with.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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