Republicans, critics question figures on impact of stimulus
By Alec MacGillis and Michael A. Fletcher
The Washington Post
The White House on Friday embraced reports showing that the $159 billion in grants and loans made so far under the economic stimulus package has created or saved about 640,000 jobs, even as Republicans and government watchdogs questioned the reliability of the figures.
White House officials said the reports -- the first batch of filings by states, cities and other recipients of stimulus grants and loans -- buttressed their calculation that the full $787 billion package passed in February has saved or created 1 million jobs.
Friday's numbers fell short of 1 million, officials said, because they do not include $180 billion of the package's spending so far -- tax cuts, safety net spending and fiscal aid to states. In addition, only $25 billion of the $159 billion in grants and loans reported Friday has been spent, meaning that those awards may yet lead to more jobs. And the reports do not gauge the broader "multiplier effect" of the money in the economy.
"The Recovery Act is operating as advertised," declared Vice President Biden, flanked by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D)....(Remainder.)