White House spokesman Jay Carney claimed Wednesday that President Barack Obama’s $60 billion green-tech program didn’t benefit foreign workers, even though the program funded many foreign manufacturers.
The claim that foreign workers were helped by taxpayer funds “doesn’t past the laugh test … [and] is specious,” he said during the midday press briefing.
Carney’s sweeping claims came a day after Mitt Romney slammed Obama as “the outsourcer-in-chief” during a town-hall meeting with a friendly audience in Colorado.
“If there is an outsourcer-in-chief, it’s the president of the United States, not the guy who’s running to replace him,” the Republican presidential candidate told a high school auditorium with 600 people.
Obama is “outsourcing a good deal of American jobs himself, by putting money into energy companies, solar and wind energy companies that end up making their products outside the United States,” Romney said.
Romney’s hard-edged charge is a response to an extensive advertising campaign by Obama that is trying to portray Romney as an job-destroying, uncaring capitalist who exported American jobs.
That controversial campaign has not boosted Obama’s numbers in the swing-states, where his polls are depressed by high unemployment, deficits and debt.
Romney’s charge of green-tech outsourcing was buttressed by the Republican National Committee, which on June 10 produced a new website, “ObamanomicsOutsourced.com.”
The administration sent overseas half of a $2.4 billion battery-development program, half of the $8.5 billion spent on wind-energy projects, a third of $2.3 billion spent on green-manufacturing tax breaks and at least $2.7 billion in federal-backed loans, according to the RNC site.
Melanie Roussell, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, admitted that green-tech work was done by overseas workers. “In some of these case, the components for these projects were built in other countries,” she told KPCC, a public radio station in California.
When asked about the GOP’s charges, Carney said the administration’s green-tech spending did hire some American workers and will boost national security.
But he also tried to avoid answering the GOP’s charges.
“There is an element here of ‘I know you are but what am I,’ to this charge, but the facts tell a different story,” he said. “The  Recovery Act [stimulus] helped create new industries in this country… including the advanced battery industry… the investments in those industries helped funds thousands and thousands of jobs,” he said.
Since 2009, numerous green-tech companies have laid off workers or shut their doors. They include battery companies, wind-power companies and solar-tech companies such as Solyndra, whose 2010 bankruptcy cost the taxpayers at least $535 million. At least 1,000 workers were laid off when the California-based company closed.