In the first 77 days after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed into law, only about $28.5 billion of the statute's $787-billion total has turned into actual outlays, according to the Obama administration's first quarterly report on the stimulus measure.
It also appears that relatively little of those outlays have been for construction programs.
Vice President Joe Biden, who issued the report on May 13, says that there has been "significant progress" in implementing the massive stimulus package. In a letter to President Obama that accompanies the report, Biden added, "We remain ahead of schedule in most programs and, due to efficiencies and sound management, many projects are coming in under budget."
In the brief, 21-page report, Biden says that stimulus funding obligations�binding spending agreements�are running much higher than outlays, totaling more than $88 billion as of May 5.
Of the legislation's $787.2-billion total price tag, $575.3 billion is appropriations and direct federal spending, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The other $211.8 billion represents the various tax cuts contained in the legislation.
Of the $28.5 billion in outlays through May 5, $15.9 billion has been Health and Human Services Dept. medical assistance payments to states.
In the infrastructure sector, the Dept. of Transportation has been a leader in obligations, with more than $10 billion as of May 5. That includes about $9 billion for highways. But DOT's total outlays were only about $34 million, including $23 million for Amtrak.
Although states continue to have fiscal problems, a senior administration official told reporters, "There's no discussion of a second stimulus package." The official said, "We're really at the beginning implementation stages of this package."
The official acknowledged, "We knew states were going to face budget challenges...much like they're unfolding. The recovery act was never intended to fully offsetstate budget declines. But...it will offset a significant chunk of those losses."
The White House said that through stimulus funding about 150,000 jobs have been created or preserved so far and an additional 600,000 jobs are expected to be created or saved in the coming 100 days.
The administration is sticking to its overall stimulus target of 3.5 million new or retained jobs by the end of September 2010.