WASHINGTON -- The $787 billion stimulus bill approved by Congress earlier this year has saved or created more than 640,000 jobs, including more than 110,000 in California, the White House said Friday.
"It's performing as advertised," said Vice President Joe Biden.
Biden said the stimulus has created another 400,000 jobs if you include harder-to-count jobs created as a result of extra economic activity, putting the total at well over 1 million. Most of the jobs were in the construction and education sectors.
Not everyone's convinced.
House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio said the stimulus is not working "and no amount of phony statistics can change that."
He said the president and his economic team promised that the stimulus would create jobs immediately, adding: "America has lost more than 3 million jobs since then, and the unemployment rate is nearing double digits."
Standing at Biden's side, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said his state has saved or created more jobs than any other state in the nation. He said teachers and other educators account for more than 62,000 of the California jobs, including those who might have been laid off if not for the federal stimulus money.
"Anyone that criticizes the stimulus money should talk to those 100,000 people that have retained their jobs or gotten jobs because of the stimulus money, especially the 62,000 teachers that have kept their jobs or gotten jobs," Schwarzenegger said. "That is an extraordinary accomplishment from the stimulus money."
In a display of bipartisanship orchestrated by the White House, the Republican governor praised the Democratic vice president and thanked the Obama administration for coming to the aid of California. He said the stimulus should not be a partisan issue.
"This is a people's issue," said the governor. "This is a jobs issue."
In a nod to the state's size, Biden introduced Schwarzenegger as "the governor of the country of California," and he applauded California and Maryland as two states leading the way in spending and accounting for stimulus money. He said the two leaders of the states, Schwarzenegger and Maryland Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, "represent all that's right about the Recovery Act."
With less than half of the stimulus money spent, Biden said the White House is well on its way to reaching the 3.5 million jobs it predicted would be saved or created. And without the stimulus money, Biden said, the economy would not be expanding after enduring the most severe recession since the 1930s.
In using two sets of job numbers, the White House said the 110,185 jobs in California and the 640,329 jobs nationwide were "direct jobs" that can be traced specifically to new spending, such as jobs created by contracts or jobs saved by averted layoffs. Of those, about 325,000 were in education, and more than 80,000 were in construction.
But the White House said government and private forecasters say the real count is well over 1 million because of all of the spinoff effects caused by the stimulus spending. A teacher who's not laid off is more likely to spend money at the barbershop or the grocery store, producing new jobs, or so the theory goes.
Schwarzenegger's visit to the White House capped a two-day visit to Washington. On Thursday, he was spotted by a local newspaper having lunch at a Georgetown restaurant, and he picked up two awards: The National Park Trust honored him with the 2009 Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award for protecting public lands in California and for his work on children's health and connecting children with the outdoors; and he received the Dean's Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the dean, at the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business Gala, where he also delivered a speech.