Three years ago on this day, a newly elected President Barrack Obama signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, effectively pumping $787 billion into a flagging American economy. Pennsylvania received $9 billion in recovery funds. Projects funded included increased education funding and money for Pa.’s highways.
The anniversary of this stimulus bill has proven to be an opportunity for PA Democrats to reflect on a job well done, while Keystone Conservatives are equally enthusiastic in pointing to what they see as a failed jobs policy.
In a joint conference call, 1st district democratic Rep. Bob Brady, Pennsylvania State Treasurer Rob McCord and Rick Bloomingdale, president of the Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations or AFL-CIO, took turns praising the positive impact that Obama’s stimulus has had on Pennsylvania’s job growth and industrial sector.
“When the history of this recession and recovery is written we’ll look back and see February 17th as the day it all started to turn around,” said State Treasurer Rob McCord.
Rick Bloomingdale, AFL-CIO president, gave the highlights of a revitalized manufacturing and shipping industry in Pennsylvania. He included the re-energized steel plants in western and central PA, the strong state presence of major military supplier Boeing, and the dredging of the Port of Philadelphia, which will allow larger container ships to export statewide goods.
“It’s an exciting time in Pennsylvania, said Bloomingdale. “The stimulus has been incredibly important for us to get our infrastructure up to speed, so companies can hire the workers to make those goods and move them across the state of Pennsylvania to the port.”
“We’re moving in the right direction, but we got a lot more to do,” said Rep. Bob Brady.
Brady called Pennsylvania ahead of schedule when it comes to the President’s goal of doubling the national export by 2015. He credited the stimulus with saving a nose-diving auto industry, while adding that not a single republican voted for the bill to be passed into legislation.
This fact is well known to PA Republicans, who are still adamantly opposed to the legislation three-years removed from its signing. PA’s GOP Chairman Rob Gleason released a statement not only calling Obama’s stimulus plan “a complete failure”, but also singling out incumbent Senator Bob Casey for supporting the bill.
“Pennsylvania voters have had enough of President Obama’s and Senator Casey’s failed promises and out of control spending,” said Gleason.
Steve Welch, the Republican endorsed candidate running against Casey in the Senate primary, also took his shots at both the Senator and the bill.
“Casey’s stimulus package failed to create the promised jobs and provide the necessary boost to our economy,” said Welch.
Bob Casey wasn’t the only PA democrat to receive flack from conservatives for voting for the stimulus. Tim Holden, representing the 17th congressional district, also received a special mention in a statement from the National Republican Congressional Committee.
“In celebrating this unfortunate anniversary, Holden and his Democrat colleagues demonstrate how out of touch they are with middle-class families in Pennsylvania still struggling to find opportunities to work,” said NRCC Communications Director Paul Lindsay.