Obey critical of stimulus reporting, defends stimulus spending
By: Glen Moberg, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Wisconsin Democrat Dave Obey is defending the stimulus bill that he helped write, even as he attacks a government website designed to track its success.
Obey is the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. He issued a rare rebuke to the Obama administration this week when its recovery website showed stimulus jobs in congressional districts that didn’t exist. He says when ludicrous mistakes are made, “I’ve got an obligation to raise hell about them.”
Obey says the inaccuracies provided ammunition for critics of his stimulus bill. Among them is one of Obey’s political opponents, Republican congressional candidate Sean Duffy. Duffy is glad Obey called out the White House on “stupid spending.” But he says Obey should also admit the $787 billion stimulus bill he helped write has been an “utter failure” because of continuing high unemployment nationwide and layoffs in Obey’s own district. Duffy says if you go to Greenheck Fan, or Kolbe and Kolbe, or Wausau Homes, and ask what the stimulus package has done for job creation and retention, they’ll say it’s been a failure.
Obey says asking if the stimulus package has been a failure is a silly question that isn’t worth a response, because the federal government is trying to ease the worst economy in 70 years. He says unemployment would be much worse without the stimulus, which he credits for saving jobs across the country and in his district. Obey adds there have been 20 road construction projects in the northern half of Wisconsin, sewer and water projects and hundreds of thousands of teaching jobs preserved across the country.
Obey says the White House has assured him that it will correct the errors on the recovery website.