GOP Targets Obama's 'Recovery Summer' Amid Economic Gloom

After months of withering job losses and weak economic growth, summer was going to be the season of recovery, the Obama administration heralded in June.

Thousands of infrastructure and construction projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act were to come on-line during June, July and August, helping to "create jobs for American workers and economic growth for businesses, large and small."

VIDEO of President Obama in Ohio touting the success of stimulus
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The White House dubbed it "Recovery Summer" and President Obama declared the economy had begun "growing at a good clip." Vice President Joe Biden predicted weeks earlier that creation of 250,000 to 500,000 new jobs a month could soon be on the horizon.

But with summer quickly coming to an end, those jobs gains and a robust economic recovery have not yet materialized, leaving Democrats on the verge of a fall election campaign in which Republicans are poised to make them eat their words.

Video: Rep. Boehner remarks on if he were Speaker of the House.
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"Sadly, this so-called 'Recovery Summer' could end up with more Americans finding themselves out of work then when it began," said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ken Spain. "Expect Republican candidates across the country to ask one simple question of Democrat incumbents: 'Where are the jobs?'"

Private companies only added 153,000 jobs in May, June and July combined, according to the Labor Department. If you count government jobs and the shedding of special Census hires, the net gains were only 80,000 over the period. The economy would need to add 8 million jobs to reach pre-recession levels.

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Most economists agree the $787 billion Recovery Act has helped prevent the recession from being significantly worse, boosting the gross domestic product and stemming job losses. But many say its effect has largely begun to wear off.

"One ironic thing about 'recovery summer' is that this is the first quarter that the impact of the Recovery Act is going to be very small," said Josh Bivens, an economist at the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute.

Two thirds of all stimulus dollars will have been spent by the end of the summer, Bivens said. The economy grew 3.7 percent in the first quarter of 2010 but slowed to 2.4 percent in the second quarter.

Economic growth is "going to drop rapidly for the rest of this year and the Recovery Act is going to add zero. It will have run out," Bivens said.

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Still, the Obama administration believes the economic rescue package has turned the economy around and put it on the right path for the future.

"The combined effect of government actions taken over the past two years -- the stimulus package, the stress tests and recapitalization of the banks, the restructuring of the American car industry and the many steps taken by the Federal Reserve -- were extremely effective in stopping the freefall and restarting the economy," wrote Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner earlier this month in a New York Times op-ed entitled "Welcome to the Recovery."

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