Here's the latest news on the stimulus:
The expectations game is turning into a battle. Yesterday, the Obama administration promised to "rev up the recovery engine" and accelerate stimulus spending. Today, a handful of big media outlets remind the public that, as the Washington Post's Alec MacGillis puts it, "the new 'roadmap' amounts to little more than a restatement of the plans that were already underway." The AP is a bit more blunt: "Those promises aren't new."
What about the jobs? Well, the LA Timescalls the administration's job estimates "elastic." "Any figure involves guesswork, the administration has conceded" to the Times, echoing a point made by ProPublica in February. (Here's the White House response.) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., acknowledges that there's "still a long way to go" but argues that "10 specific nationwide commitments" will speed up our economic recovery.
Meanwhile, artists in Washington state are being encouraged to apply for one of 25 grants in stimulus funding. Altogether, the state has about $300,000 to give away to groups struggling to hold on to arts jobs.
The Pulitzer-winning PolitiFactcorrects Newt Gingrich's assertion that the stimulus has an "anti-religion clause." Recently, the former speaker of the House said in a fundraising e-mail that the stimulus would restrict churches from holding meetings in public places. "The courts have been clear that religious groups are entitled to the same equal access to public facilities as any other group," PolitiFactwrites.
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford reluctantly requested stimulus funds yesterday after a state Supreme Court ruling demanded that he do so. Don't expect the political battle to end here. Sanford told U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, "While I'm signing these documents under duress, I have no ability to promise that many of the mentioned conditions and guarantees will indeed be met," reports the AP.
Finally, more than $100 million in additional unemployment benefits have been doled out to Texas since March as part of the stimulus, announces the Texas Workforce Commission.