Fox's Cameron still can't get his recovery act math right

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

On Special Report, Carl Cameron uncritically reported, "The president wanted 75 percent of the package distributed in 18 months. Republicans say that's not going to happen with this package." Cameron then aired a clip of Rep. Jerry Lewis asserting, "Only 11 percent of the appropriations in this bill would be spent by the end of '09, 47 percent would be spent by fiscal year '10, 53 percent would not be spent until after October of 2-11." In doing so, Cameron misleadingly suggested that Lewis had been discussing the entire recovery bill, when Lewis was discussing only the appropriations provisions in the bill. According to the CBO, 74.2 percent of the total package would be spent within 19 months.

On the February 13 edition of Fox News' Special Report, discussing the House vote to pass the conference agreement for the economic recovery bill, chief political correspondent Carl Cameron uncritically reported, "The president wanted 75 percent of the package distributed in 18 months. Republicans say that's not going to happen with this package." Cameron then aired a clip of Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) asserting, "Only 11 percent of the appropriations in this bill would be spent by the end of '09, 47 percent would be spent by fiscal year '10, 53 percent would not be spent until after October of 2-11." But in stating that President Obama "wanted 75 percent of the package distributed in 18 months" and then airing Lewis' comments, Cameron misleadingly suggested that Lewis had been discussing the entire recovery bill. In fact, as the clip indicated, Lewis was discussing only the rate of spending of the appropriations provisions in the bill, not including the provisions for direct spending or tax cuts. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of the conference report, 74.2 percent of the total package would be spent within 19 months.

According to a February 13 letter from CBO director Douglas Elmendorf:

Combining both spending and revenue effects, CBO estimates that enacting the conference agreement for H.R. 1 would increase federal budget deficits by $185 billion over the remaining months of fiscal year 2009, by $399 billion in 2010, by $134 billion in 2011, and by $787 billion over the 2009-2019 period.

Lewis cited only the rate at which the "appropriations in the bill" would be spent [emphasis added]. Taking into account all provisions, according to the CBO, $185 billion of the $787 billion recovery bill would be spent by the end of fiscal year 2009, or 23.5 percent of the bill's total cost. Likewise, $584 billion ($185 billion for fiscal year 2009 plus $399 billion for fiscal year 2010), or 74.2 percent of the bill's total cost, would take effect within 19 months, through the end of fiscal year 2010. And $718 billion ($185 billion for fiscal year 2009 plus $399 billion for fiscal year 2010 plus $134 billion for fiscal year 2011), or 91.2 percent of the bill's total cost, would be spent by October 2011, through the end of fiscal year 2011.

As Media Matters for America previously documented, discussing previous versions of the recovery bill during the January 27 edition of Special Report, Cameron falsely claimed: "In both the House and Senate packages, more than half of the money is reserved for at least two years from now, and Republicans argue that that's simply not good enough." In fact, including both outlays and tax cuts, the CBO estimated that about 64 percent of H.R. 1 would be paid out within 19 months and about 86 percent by the end of fiscal year 2011.

From the February 13 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:

CAMERON: The Democratically controlled Congress didn't get the massive bill printed till the middle of the night.

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): What happened to the promise that we're gonna let the American people see what's in this bill for 48 hours? But nope, we don't have time to do that.

CAMERON: The president wanted 75 percent of the package distributed in 18 months. Republicans say that's not going to happen with this package.

LEWIS: Only 11 percent of the appropriations in this bill would be spent by the end of '09, 47 percent would be spent by fiscal year '10, 53 percent would not be spent until after October of 2-11.

CAMERON: The GOP zeroed in on billions in what they call non-simulative spending they think is best left out or put into normal, non-emergency legislation.

Posted In
Economy
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Carl Cameron
Show/Publication
Special Report with Bret Baier
Stories/Interests
Economic Recovery Plan
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