Journalism in the Public Interest

Eye on the Stimulus

Could Unspent Stimulus Money Be Used to Fend Off a New Recession?

The nation's top economists are already giving odds on a double-dip recession. The Federal Reserve has only a few bullets left in its gun. And Congress seems politically paralyzed to come up with any new infrastructure or tax-cut plan that would fire up the economy.

So it seems all the more surprising that the federal government still has $100 billion to $150 billion in stimulus money left to spend. That's about as much as the Making Work Pay tax credit that gave $800 apiece to middle-class families in 2009 and 2010. And it's twice as much as Congress gave to states to stabilize budgets and save education jobs.

Our Recovery Tracker Database Hits $430 Billion Mark

Nearly two years since the first stimulus dollars entered the economy, ProPublica continues to follow where they’re all going with the latest update of our Recovery Tracker.

ProPublica and PolitiFact Test Obama Claims on Stimulus

This story was co-published with Politifact.

"One of the interesting things about the Recovery Act was most of the projects came in under budget, faster than expected, because there's just not a lot of work there."

-- Barack Obama on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010 in a "60 Minutes" interview

Obama claims most stimulus projects have come in under budget, faster than expected

President Barack Obama says the time is ripe for immediate investment in infrastructure projects such as highways and bridges. With the nation recovering from a recession, interest rates are low, competition among contractors for work is intense and the cost of building materials are low.

Did the White House Meet its Stimulus Goal?

2:55 p.m.: This post has been updated with the White House's full report.

The White House plans to release a report today announcing that it met its goal of spending 70 percent of the $787 billion stimulus package by the end of September. If so, there must have been a last-minute push to get more money out the door.

According to early news reports, the administration said it hit its goal by spending $309 million and issuing $242 billion in tax cuts — exactly reaching the target of $551 billion.

Stimulus Spending Likely to Make Administration’s Goal

The Obama administration is on track to reach a self-imposed stimulus milestone: spending 70 percent of Recovery Act money by the end of September.

The administration set the goal in February, on the first anniversary of the bill. According to our Stimulus Progress Bar that tracks spending, 62 percent of stimulus money has gone out the door, putting $490 billion into the economy. If the administration keeps spending at the same rate it has so far this year -- both in terms of direct spending and tax cuts -- it should easily meet the goal.

Track the Stimulus: Interactive Tools

Recovery Tracker
Find stimulus projects happening near you. (Updated: March 2010)
Want CSVs of our stimulus data? Fill out this signup form.

Stimulus Speed Chart
Which government agencies are the slowest at getting stimulus money out the door? Updated weekly.

Stimulus Spending Progress
How quickly are federal agencies spending? Updated weekly.

ProPublica’s Unofficial Guide to
Confused by the government's official stimulus data Web site? Our guide will tell you how to navigate it.

How to Background Check Stimulus Companies
A guide of tips and resources on researching the background of companies getting stimulus funds.

Photo by flickr user sparkieblues


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