The Road to Recovery…
Peter R. Orszag, Director
Today on Capitol Hill, OMB Deputy Director Rob Nabors testified in front of the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee about the Recovery Act. A major focus at the hearing was a report issued today by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the non-partisan, independent government watchdog. GAO found that Recovery Act spending was ahead of schedule and was helping to mitigate the economic downturn.
In its report, the GAO found:
•In New York City, officials estimate that the Recovery Act funds saved 14,000 teachers’ jobs because the school district was able to use the dollars to avoid massive cutbacks in education programs.
•Michigan will use part of its Recovery funding to weatherize 32,000 homes, reducing energy usage in each home by an average of 25 percent, and employing an estimated 1,500 people.
•In California, state officials had been looking at increasing college tuition by 26 percent. The GAO reports, however, that, because of Recovery funds, any tuition hike will stay in the single digits.
These reports are good news, but it will take time for us to work our way out of the problems we face.
Let’s be clear: we haven’t swapped our propeller hats for rose-colored glasses. Although the pace of job losses has slowed significantly since the Administration took office — we shouldn’t forget that the economy was shedding an average of 691,000 jobs in January, February, and March — the June unemployment numbers are a stark reminder of how deep the economic downturn we face is and how much more work we have ahead of us. Our current economic challenges were years in the making, and they will not be solved overnight. Nonetheless, we will be taking a close look at some of some of GAO’s constructive suggestions to improve Recovery Act implementation and effectiveness. And we’ll also continue our work to improve education, move toward a clean energy future, and reform health care, so that we have a new foundation for broad-based, sustainable economic growth.