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Eye Opener: Stimulus tit-for-tat continues

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Updated 8:47 a.m. ET

Happy Wednesday! The White House hosts a jobs summit on Thursday and continues to defend the economic stimulus program against charges that it's fudging the number of jobs created by the federal spending program.

The latest tit-for-tat started earlier this week when the Congressional Budget Office backed previous statements that the program has created between 600,000 and 1.6 million jobs. Still, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf blogged that job reports submitted by stimulus recipients "do not provide a comprehensive estimate of the law’s impact on employment in the United States."

Not surprisingly, Vice President Joseph Biden jumped in quick to priase the CBO report, stating that "This early progress less than halfway through the program is encouraging, but we’re just getting started.

Responding to sustained Republican criticism of the jobs numbers, White House stimulus adviser Ed DeSeve said Tuesday that "There is nothing mysterious, ephemeral or uncertain about the important role the Recovery Act has played in saving the jobs of hundreds of thousands of Americans." DeSeve spoke out in a letter to Reps. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) -- who have led GOP criticisms of the stimulus job counts.

Boehner and Issa fired back almost immediately.

“The Obama Administration is trying to scam the American people by continuing to repeat their phony ‘stimulus’ claims, including the number of jobs ‘saved or created’ – a metric it seems to have made up out of thin air,” Boehner said.

“The American people’s confidence in this Administration continues to erode as misleading statistics are touted in an attempt to distract attention away from the failure to stop double-digit unemployment," Issa said. "Economic well-being will only return when sound economic policies allow for real job creation in the private sector.”

Stimulus recipients must turn in their second quarterly report next month -- an event likely to fuel the partisan rhetoric yet again.

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More Obama Nominees Announced: On Tuesday the president tapped David Mills to serve as assistant secretary of commerce for export enforcement; Douglas Rediker to serve as U.S. alternate executive director at the International Monetary Fund Board; and Michael Khouri as a member of the Federal Maritime Commission. Track all of Obama's nominees with The Post's Head Count.

Cabinet and Staff News: White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers under scrutiny. Secretary of State HIllary Rodham Clinton headed to a NATO meeting on Friday. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (video) profiled by the New York Times. NSC Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough strikes back at Dick Cheney.

CENSUS BUREAU:

Son of census worker doesn't think his father killed himself: State police said last week that evidence and witness testimony led them to believe that Bill Sparkman committed suicide and staged his death to look like a murder.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

EPA hints it may allow higher ethanol concentrations in gas: The potential move raises hope among ethanol makers and concern among oil and vehicle makers.

HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT:

FHA to toughen rules for borrowers: The agency is proposing to increase the up-front cash paid by borrowers as part of an effort to shore up finances, which have been staggered by rising defaults in its flagship mortgage insurance program.

FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION:

Officials criticized for delay on pilot fatigue rules: Lawmakers reacted strongly when the agency's associate administrator for aviation safety said fatigue rules would be delayed by a month.

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION:
Chairman pushes changes to expand broadband access: Julius Genachowski said he wants to overhaul a $7 billion federal phone-subsidy program and reallocate more airwaves to wireless carriers.
NASA:

NASA scientist avoids jail in procurement case: The U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Md., on Tuesday sentenced Mark Schoeberl, 60, of Silver Spring, Md., to one year's probation and a $10,000 fine.

MISCELLANEOUS:

Workers chafe as Obama reins in raises: President Obama will win no fans among federal workers with his action to limit their pay increase next year to 2 percent.

Still waiting for that invasion: This month marks the 10th anniversary of the Clinton administration's cavalier handover of the Panama Canal -- leaving an alleged front for the Chinese Red Army in control of the strategic passage.

Obama meets with Nobelists: Americans account for 11 of this year's 13 recipients. Obama will accept his Peace Prize in Norway on Dec. 10, the day the others receive their prizes in Sweden.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | December 2, 2009; 7:15 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Tracking the Stimulus  
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Comments

The cricitisms by Boehner and Issa is telling. Boehner has used outright lies about the claims of constructions by claiming something else only to have the Ohio DOT contradict him. This is another example why the Republican don't have a plan nor offer to advance one that is dimetrically different what they advocated for many years except to criticize. Furthermore, it was the Republican policies for the last 30 years that created this mess and it will take some time to get back normal. I'll be blunt on this: both parties in the WH and Congress are the problem and they need to start being honest instead of obfuscating.

Posted by: beeker25 | December 2, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

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