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News About the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Today, the Office of the Vice President released a report on the progress of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  The report revealed that Recovery Act funds have been put to work on-schedule, projects are frequently under-budget, and due to strong oversight and transparency measures, the program has a lower than average rate of waste and fraud. [White House, 10/1/10]

Washington Post - Report gives stimulus package high marks

…the report challenges public perceptions of the stimulus aid as slow-moving and wasteful - an image that has fueled voter anger with the dominant party. Even some former skeptics who predicted that the money would lead to rampant abuse now acknowledge that the program could serve as a model for improving efficiency in government.

…By the end of September, the administration had spent 70 percent of the act's original $787 billion, which met a White House goal of quickly pumping money into the nation's ravaged economy, the report says. The administration also met nearly a dozen deadlines set by Congress for getting money out the door.

Meanwhile, lower-than-anticipated costs for some projects have permitted the administration to stretch stimulus money further than expected, financing an additional 3,000 projects, according to the report.

…the report says that stimulus contracts and grants have so far been relatively free of the fraud charges…

The CBO has forecast that the package may be on track to meet the administration's goal of preserving 3.5 million jobs by the end of the year.

Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council, which represents government contractors, said the unprecedented focus on oversight clearly paid off and should be analyzed for lessons that could be applied throughout the government.

…the report serves to verify, he [Jared Bernstein, Vice President Biden's chief economist] said, that 'the recovery act has accomplished much of what it set out to do.' [10/1/10]

TIME Magazine - It's Official: The Stimulus Isn't a Waste of Money

So far, while the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is clearly not a political success, it is just as clearly a managerial success -- on schedule, under budget, and according to independent investigators, remarkably free of fraud.

Meanwhile, Earl Devaney, the hard-nosed watchdog leading the independent Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, recently testified to Congress that investigators 'simply haven't seen the kind of fraud that we would have imagined as professional law enforcement.'

concerns that excessive vigilance against fraud would slow the pace of spending don't seem to have panned out, either. [10/1/10]

The Sacramento Bee (California) - Stimulus Critic Lungren won $30 million for Rancho Cordova company

[MEMBER MENTIONED: R-Dan Lungren (CA-3): Voted NO on Recovery Act]

Rep. Dan Lungren likened the federal stimulus plan to a 'spending spree which will add to a growing mountain of debt,' but he helped secure $30 million from the program for a local company

The Gold River Republican teamed with Democratic Rep. Jim Costa of Bakersfield to lobby the Department of Energy on behalf of Clean Energy Systems, a Rancho Cordova company working to use rocket science to develop and build zero-emission power plants.

Lungren has panned the 2009 economic recovery package, saying the Democrat-backed plan 'poured kerosene on the fire' instead of creating jobs and conditions vital to an economic recovery.

The project is expected to create or protect 150 jobs between the Rancho Cordova headquarters and a Bakersfield project site, numbers Lungren praised in a recent release announcing the award. [10/1/10]

Tucson Sentinel (Arizona) - Tucson police get $12.3 million grant to hire 50 officers

[MEMBER MENTIONED: Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-8)]

The Tucson Police Department will receive a $12.3 million federal stimulus grant to pay the salaries of 50 officers, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords announced today.

The grant will fund entry-level salaries and benefits for three years for newly-hired, full-time sworn officer positions or for rehired officers who have been laid off.

'We're getting the lion's share of the funding coming to Arizona,' Giffords said. 'Public safety is the most important function of government and this money will make the people of Tucson safer.' [9/30/10]

The Bay City Times (Michigan) - Standish, Gladwin to benefit from stimulus funds

[MEMBER MENTIONED: Bart Stupak (MI-1)]

Federal stimulus money is on its way to Michigan and the Standish and Gladwin communities are set to benefit from it.

Congressman Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded American Recovery and reinvestment Act grants and loans for infrastructure improvement projects.

The projects are expected to create jobs for residents of the communities receiving the funds, Stupak said.

“I am pleased that important stimulus funds are being used for infrastructure improvements in northern Michigan,” said Stupak.

These investments will create construction jobs and enhance the services provided at public facilities in rural areas throughout the country.” [9/29/10]

Brattleboro Reformer (Vermont) - Vermont receives funding for Amtrak

[MEMBER MENTIONED: Peter Welch (VT-At Large)]

Vermont's congressional delegation and the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Wednesday the release of $50 million in federal stimulus money for upgrades to the Amtrak passenger track from St. Albans to Vernon.

The infrastructure investment will also create numerous construction jobs and revamp the railroad for both freight and passenger trains in the long-term.

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., said improvements to Amtrak's Vermonter (running from St. Albans through Brattleboro's station to Washington, D.C.) will help Windham County businesses and commuters while boosting the region's growing tourism economy.

'This investment in high-speed rail will create good jobs and support Windham County's environment commitment,' he said. 'With the release of these funds, the [American Reinvestment and Recovery Act] is putting Vermonters to work and laying the groundwork for the future of Vermont's transportation infrastructure…” [9/30/10]

Tri-City Herald (Washington) - $89M in stimulus funds to support Smart Grid project

Battelle and the Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory have completed a cooperative agreement that will authorize release of $89 million in economic stimulus money for the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project.

At its peak, the project could create about 1,500 jobs in manufacturing, installation and operation of smart grid equipment, telecommunications networks, software and controls. [10/1/10]

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