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In the wake of midterm elections, former U.S. Sen. George Allen is urging the new Congress to stop funding the stimulus bill.
Under a set of legislative priorities posted on his website, Allen says: "The new Congress must repeal and cutoff any additional money borrowed and set aside for Obama, Reid and Pelosi's $1.2 trillion stimulus spending bill."
The $1.2 trillion price tag was a new to us, so we checked it out.
Allen’s executive assistant Tim Nussbaum said the source is CNN Money.com’s Bailout Tracker, which focuses on government programs designed to jump start the economy.
Among the various categories in the Bailout Tracker is one called "Federal Stimulus Programs." Within that category are six programs which collectively represent $1.2 trillion in spending.
Those programs include the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, unemployment benefit extension, student loan guarantees, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, an advanced technology vehicles manufacturing program and the Cash for Clunkers program.
And that takes us to the heart of the first major problem with Allen’s claim.
He refers to one stimulus spending bill and then attempts to validate the $1.2 trillion number by pointing to the combined funding for six separate programs.
Here’s the second big problem: the six programs that collectively represent the $1.2 trillion weren’t all approved under the Obama administration.
The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, for example, which represents $168 billion of the $1.2 trillion total was passed under President George W. Bush. So was the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program.
Now, if we are to assume that Allen is referring in his claim to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also called the Stimulus, the total provided was $787.2 billion including tax relief and stimulus funds.
That’s a long way from $1.2 trillion.
Recent estimates put the 2009 Stimulus total a bit higher. The Congressional Budget Office in August put the total cost for the stimulus -- from February 2009 through 2019 -- at $814 billion.
Still not close.
So, looking back, this is an open and shut case.
Allen is clearly distorting the facts by using the $1.2 trillion total for six individual programs, not all of which were approved under the Obama administration, and applying it to a single bill.
In reality, the 2009 Stimulus bill Allen alludes to represents a total cost of about $814 billion. That’s almost $400 billion shy of the $1.2 trillion figure he cites.
And just to put that number in perspective, $400 billion is what shoppers spent at Wal-Mart in 2009. It roughly equals the total 13-year expenses of Virginia’s state government between 1999 and 2012.
Allen is not only exaggerating the spending total by President Obama and the Democratic leaders of Congress, he is doing it by including billions of dollars passed under a Republican president. That’s just not false, it’s ridiculous. So we have to set the meter ablaze. Pants on Fire.
GeorgeAllen.com, Legislative Priorities, accessed Nov. 13, 2010.
CNN Money, Bailout Tracker, accessed Nov. 9, 2010
Congressional Budget Office, The Budget and Economic Outlook: An Update, August 2010
Email interview with Tim Nussbaum, executive assistant to George Allen
Recovery.gov, Stimulus spending, accessed Nov. 9, 2010
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