Republicans disappointed with the president’s stimulus plan are expected to hit the Obama administration and Democrats hard Wednesday during a House hearing on oversight of the stimulus spending.
Republican lawmakers will accuse the administration of misreading the effectiveness of the stimulus and say the administration has “rigged the game” by using what they call the immeasurable metric of “jobs created or saved,” according to a Republican memo obtained by CNN. The House Oversight and Government Reform hearing is at 10 a.m. ET. With President Obama overseas, Republicans have stepped up their attacks on the administration’s plans for the economy, saying conflicting statements are coming from the White House. Republicans question whether Obama’s $787 billion stimulus was the right approach to get the country out of the recession. The issue has followed the president all the way to Russia, where he clarified statements Vice President Joseph Biden made this weekend about the recession. Biden told ABC’s “This Week” that “the truth is, we and everyone else misread the economy.” Speaking on NBC’s “The Today Show,” Obama on Tuesday said “rather than say ‘misread,’ we had incomplete information.”
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He also told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that “there’s nothing that we would have done differently. “We needed a stimulus and we needed a substantial stimulus,” he said. Republicans criticize Obama’s warning in February, when he urged the Congress to pass the stimulus. “We’re moving quickly because we’re told that if we don’t move quickly, that the economy is going keep on getting worse, and we’ll have another 2 or 3 or 4 million jobs lost this year,” he said at the time. But, even with the stimulus, the economy has shed 3.4 million jobs in just six months, according to the Department of Labor. Democratic leaders in Congress are kicking around the idea of another stimulus. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday he would consider supporting a second economic stimulus bill, but said people need to give the package that passed in February more time to work. The president says he’s not taking the idea off the table, and one of his top economic advisers is already calling for one. Republicans, however, accuse the White House of not getting its story straight. “They said the stimulus was necessary to jumpstart the economy. Yet now, with about a half million jobs lost every single month, they’ve started to admit that they simply ‘misread’ the economy. These were costly mistakes, and we can’t take them back,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday. Despite a tough year for Republicans, GOP strategists say the economy is part of the party’s road to recovery. “Nothing has really galvanized the Republican Party more than the stimulus vote,” Republican strategist Doug Heye said. “One thing that we’ve seen is that the president’s popularity, while he’s still popular throughout the nation, really is taking hits in key states.”