Browsing: Economic Stimulus

Coverage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 – the nearly-$800 billion stimulus package designed to jump-start the economy.

RAT board not certifying data it's not supposed to certify

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Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) sent a letter on Nov. 13 (pdf) to Earl Devaney, the chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, raising some questions about the stimulus data posted on Recovery.gov. Issa was specifically concerned about the “jobs created/saved” data: The site claims 640,329 jobs have been created or saved, but there’s widespread agreement that figure is wrong.

Industry issues Recovery Act report card: B-

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Government averages a B- when it comes to managing Recovery Act spending. At least according to the grades issued today by market research firm INPUT, in its second report card on the Recovery Act. Here is how government performed, according to the INPUT report card: Speed of Spending: B+ (Previous Grade: B+) Reviewer’s Comments: “The federal government has continued to show unusual adeptness in dispensing a tremendous amount of money very quickly…At its current spending pace, the federal government will achieve 87 percent of the goal set by the president of having $350 billion spent by Sept. 30, 2010” Contracting…

Recovery.gov and job creation

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I’ve probably made this point before, but it’s worth making again. There’s a lot of snark going around about the job-creation figures released last week on Recovery.gov. The conservative National Review, for example, jokes that the data shows an “embarrass[ing]” $533,000-per-job performance by the economic stimulus bill. That $533,000 figure comes from dividing the total amount of money spent so far on contracts, $16 billion, by the number of jobs they created, 30,000. $533,000 is more than 10 times the median national income — so if it takes that much money to create a job, the stimulus bill must be…

Recovery.gov: Recipient reporting data goes live

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The Recovery Accountability and Transparency board has posted the first batch of recipient reporting data on Recovery.gov. A little background for those of you who don’t follow the stimulus bill quite as obsessively as we do: Recovery.gov already had agency reporting data, which comes directly from the agencies that awarded the money. But the recipients of that money are also required to report, on a quarterly basis, on each contract, grant or loan they receive. The first round of reporting ended on Oct. 10, and the RAT board has staretd posting that data online. This data — in theory –…

New Recovery.gov goes live

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You can visit it here, obviously. I got a preview of the site on Friday, along with about a dozen other journalists, at a session hosted by the “RAT board” and Smartronix, the company that developed the site. Overall it’s a big improvement over the previous Recovery.gov site. The new site includes a mapping feature that allows you to view spending data by state, county, and congressional district; it also contains exponentially more spending data than the previous site. There are still some glaring omissions: You can’t enter the name of a contractor and view all contracts awarded to that…

DOT funds small business recovery with recovery funds

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I recently reported that the Small Business Administration and the Commerce Department were planning to participate in more than 200 events boost small businesses contracting under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But it looks like those agencies aren’t the only ones working to ensure small businesses benefit from stimulus spending. The Transportation Department announced today that it has dedicated $20 million in Recovery Act funds to create a “Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Bonding Assistance Program.” The program, which is run by the department’s Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization, allows small and disadvantaged businesses to apply for reimbursements for the…

Pork you can believe in, ctd.

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Kudos to Tim for providing some context on USDA’s “pork purchases.” I’ve never understood why Matt Drudge’s Web site has such influence over the Washington news cycle; he posts a few sensational links with absolutely no context, and suddenly they become the “big story” of the day. Why? Anyway, some reporters and politicians have questioned whether spending $20 million on pork helps the economy. So just to repeat a point we made in February: All spending is stimulative. The government could buy $787 billion worth of ham, or pay laborers $787 billion to dig holes and fill them back up…

$18 million Recovery.gov contract awarded

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GSA announced last night that it has awarded a contract for the Recovery.gov redesign; the $18 million contract went to Smartronix, a Maryland-based IT firm. It beat out 58 other bidders. The first part of the contract is worth about $9.5 million through January; other options, which extend through January 2014, are worth another $8.5 million or so. Redesigning the recovery site is a big undertaking; it needs to be online by mid-October, when state and local governments start reporting their stimulus spending data. You’ll find more details about that in my interview with Earl Devaney from last week; we’ll…

Another 100 Day Milestone

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The Recovery Act has been in place for 100 days today. To celebrate, the White House published this report today highlighting the effects of 100 projects funded through the act. Already $112 billion in funds have been spent and over 150,000 jobs created, according to the White House. The White House is currently working on a roadmap for the next 100 days and in October plans to post detailed spending information on Recovery.gov, according to the White House blog.

Video tour of federal green roofs

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Last week, I wrote about how federal agencies are using some of the billions of dollars in stimulus funds flowing to them for facility and energy projects to replace or retrofit their building rooftops with green alternatives. Options being considered include thin solar films that are imbedded into roofs, additional insulation to repel heat, and vegetative roofs such as a 5,000-square-foot garden patch atop the seven-story Interior Department headquarters building in Washington. Other agencies have outfitted their roofs with vegetation, recognizing both the environmental and economic benefits. Our videographer, Colin Kelly, recently toured two examples outside the nation’s capital in Suitland,…

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