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WH needles Boehner, Issa over report

From MSNBC.com's Carrie Dann
The Congressional Budget Office report on stimulus jobs that First Read mentioned earlier today continues to be enthusiastically used by the Obama administration as ammunition against the Recovery Act's critics. In a letter sent today to Minority Leader John Boehner -- and cc'd to the House Oversight and Government Reform's vocal ranking member, Rep. Darrell Issa -- the White House made doubly sure that Republicans have laid eyes on yesterday's report, which estimated that as many as 1.6 million jobs were created or saved in the third quarter.

"Indeed, having heard the Congressional Budget Office cited frequently in your speeches and statements, it seems their report should be a particularly reliable and independent answer to any questions you may have about Recovery Act job impact," wrote Ed DeSeve, a senior adviser to the administration on the Recovery Act.

The non-partisan CBO report also echoed a point that the administration has been pushing since jobs numbers first started to be released earlier this year: that the stimulus cash received by the companies who are reporting to the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board represents only about a quarter of the total Recovery Act spending.

Boehner and Issa have been among the most vocal critics of the Board's accounting of jobs created by the $787 billion package -- of which about $275 billion goes towards contracts, grants, and loans intended to directly spur employment. The Board, which tallies jobs as reported by recipients of stimulus funds, says that about 640,300 jobs were created or saved with the money as of the end of October.

*** UPDATE *** Boehner put out this response: "The Obama administration is trying to scam the American people by continuing to repeat their phony 'stimulus' claims, including the number of jobs 'saved or created' – a metric it seems to have made up out of thin air. As the CBO states on page one of their report, 'it is impossible to determine how many of the reported jobs would have existed in the absence of the stimulus package.'"  

Issa's office also made a statement, saying, "The American people's confidence in this Administration continues to erode as misleading statistics are touted in an attempt to distract attention away from the failure to stop double-digit unemployment.  Economic well-being will only return when sound economic policies allow for real job creation in the private sector."