USA — Billions of dollars in stimulus money is now going to programs that the administration plans to ax or cut down in its new budget, according to USA Today, which reported Wednesday that the total comes to more than $3.5 billion
Among the programs facing elimination or reduction are:
— The Army Corps of Engineers’ drinking-water project, which has received $200 million in the stimulus package.
— The Department of Agriculture’s flood-prevention program, the recipient of $290 million.
— The Forest Service, which is getting $100 million less for maintenance and construction in national forests even though it received $650 million in stimulus money.
— The Interior Department’s budget to thin trees and brush to fight wildfires, which is slated to get $44 million less in the Obama budget than last year. It had gotten $15 million in stimulus money.
While defenders would say the budget cuts are balancing out the early stimulus money, Tom Schatz of the nonpartisan budget watchdog Citizens Against Government Waste told the newspaper the proposed cuts show the programs shouldn’t have received money from the stimulus package in the first place.
“It would have been better to have this realization a year ago,” he is reported saying.
On Wednesday, Vice President Biden presents the president with a 27-page report on how the stimulus package is helping the economy, including creating or saving 2 million jobs in the private and public sector.
Republicans are also marking this one-year anniversary of the stimulus bill being signed into law, pointing to the 9.7 percent unemployment rate as evidence that the plan is not working.