Republican lawmakers are highlighting some controversial spending from the 2009 stimulus act in an attempt to paint President Obama’s new jobs bill as a second stimulus that could lead to more wasteful spending rather than job creation.On Monday the Senate Republican Communications centre put out a statement titled, “More Money For Jobs?” that links to several news articles detailing how stimulus funds allocated for educational purposes were sometimes spent on school laptops, iPads, or for other arguably exorbitant purposes. In one case, funds went toward movie tickets. In Alabama, more education funds went to prisons than schools.
The intent there is to show that money earmarked to save jobs was not actually spent saving jobs. With Obama repeatedly calling on Congress to pass his new bill —which he says will help keep thousands of teachers employed — the GOP wants to show how past stimulus efforts aimed at saving jobs didn’t have their intended effect.
However, that statement elides the purpose of the 2009 stimulus by framing that bill as solely a job-saving measure. The stimulus was aimed not only at doing that, but at jump-starting the broader economy as well — something that purchases of new school technology could arguably have aided.
Still, the line of attack is one the GOP will likely use in fighting passage of the jobs bill when it comes up for a vote in smaller chunks. And at a time when the political climate favours calls for reduced government spending, the argument could hold up.
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