Stand up for facts and support PolitiFact.
Now is your chance to go on the record as supporting trusted, factual information by joining PolitiFact’s Truth Squad. Contributions or gifts to PolitiFact, which is part of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Poynter Institute, are tax deductible.
I would like to contribute
One of the most common Republican attack lines against President Barack Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus package has been that the money isn't flowing to the nation's economy quickly enough. If the bill's supporters really wanted to help the economy quickly, the argument goes, they should have spent the stimulus money right away rather than using it on projects that will take more time to get up and running.
Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., the No. 2 Senate Republican, made that point on ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos on July 12, 2009.
"The reality is (the stimulus) hasn't helped yet," Kyl told Stephanopoulos. "Only about 6.8 percent of the money has actually been spent."
It's a matter of opinion and interpretation whether the stimulus has helped the economy since it passed in February. So we won't rule on that. But Kyl is mostly right about the amount that's been spent.
The Obama administration publishes u pdated spending figures on Recovery.gov , the administration's Web site tracking the stimulus money. It includes a graph showing the week-by-week trend in spending, which shows how it has steadily increased.
As of July 3, $60.4 billion in stimulus money had been spent, according to the chart. If you divide this by the full stimulus amount of $787 billion, you get 7.7 percent — a bit higher than Kyl's 6.8 percent, but in the ballpark. It appears that Kyl was a few weeks out of date in his statistics. The figure spent by June 19 was 6.7 percent; in the subsequent two weeks of reported data, the government shelled out an additional $7.5 billion, boosting the percentage slightly.
But on the larger point, Kyl is accurate: A relatively small portion of the stimulus has been spent. So we find his claim Mostly True.
Recovery.gov, "Investments by Agency" chart , accessed July 13, 2009
Recovery.gov, "Reporting the progress" graph , accessed July 13, 2009
E-mail interview with Ryan Patmintra, spokesman for Sen. Kyl, July 13, 2009
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.