President Barack Obama has flown to Mexico for a one-day summit, leaving Vice President Joe Biden with the task of defending the president’s expensive and disappointing 2009 stimulus bill, which Obama signed this week five years ago.
The partisan spending bill, which cost taxpayers between $787 billion and $821 billion, failed to accomplish its touted goal of keeping unemployment below 8 percent. In fact, unemployment rose up to 10 percent, and didn’t drop below 8 percent until late 2012.
The spending bill also also boosted nascent GOP opposition to Obama’s agenda, and helped the tea party movement capture the House in November 2010.
“The vice president will travel to Granite City, Illinois, to visit America’s Central Port and mark the fifth anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” according to a White House statement.
At midday central time, Biden “will deliver remarks highlighting the need for continued investment in infrastructure to create jobs and grow our economy.”
Meanwhile, Obama will be in Mexico, where he is expected to give a brief speech in the afternoon, and attend a joint press conference that begins at 7:15 pm EST.
Obama is flying to Mexico for a meeting with Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto.
Obama also meets with Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada.
Obama will give an afternoon speech to “North American business, civil society and education leaders,” according to the White House statement.
The president is also slated to appear at an evening press conference, where he might try to make some news on immigration or the economy.
White House officials have mounted a modest defense of the stimulus bill. Jason Furman, who chairs Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, released a report Feb. 18, where he said that the spending “had a substantial positive impact on the economy, helped to avert a second Great Depression, and made targeted investments that will pay dividends long after the act has fully phased out.”
After Biden gives his midday speech, he will attend a fundraiser for Democratic candidates.