The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed into law a month ago, and now it’s time to ensure the money is spent quickly yet wisely. Conservatives, however, show little appetite for supporting the series of measures that will help get our economy moving again. Rush Limbaugh has famously said that he “hopes Obama fails.” Eric Cantor appeared on Meet The Press on Sunday and again criticized the “waste and pork barrel spending” in the recovery plan.
The simple fact is that the law has now been passed and everyone should be doing as much as possible to ensure that the money is well spent . The chart below shows Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation projections of the pace of recovery spending, and how the money will be spent broken down into five categories—help for those most in need; aid for states and localities; green investments; other investments for transport, utilities, health, education, broadband, etc; and tax cut stimulus.
At a minimum, 75 percent of the spending will take place by the conclusion of fiscal year 2010 in September 2010, and 91 percent by September 2011. Last week, OMB Director Peter Orszag announced measures to ensure that recovery plan dollars are not, “stuck in a bottleneck because of inadequate systems or overwhelmed network servers.” Some investments will be spent after September 2011, but this is generally because they are large projects that will be started in 2009 or 2010 but will take longer to complete.
The revolutionary accountability measures put in place by President Obama will help prevent waste. As outlined by our colleague Reece Rushing, the plan requires regular public reports and disclosure of detailed data on investments, an Accountability and Transparency Board to monitor progress achieved, and a website to provide detailed data on each contract awarded.
See more from CAP on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:
Background brief: Recovery and Reinvestment 102
Animation: How the Recovery Act Works
Interactive Maps: Recovery Beyond the Beltway