Yesterday, the White House held a conference call between Vice President Biden and governors of U.S. states and territories. The purpose of the call, according to the White House pool report, was to “exhort the states to collect and submit quarterly numbers of jobs created and saved by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act by the deadline of Oct. 10.” Forty-nine state governors or their representatives joined the call. The one person who skipped it? Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R). From the pool report:
The invite was sent to 55 states and territories; if the governor could not join the call, a Lt. Governor, Chief of Staff or ARRA designee called in. There was one no-show state: Louisiana. Three no-show territories: Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa.
Biden has been aggressively reaching out to U.S. mayors and governors to help them use stimulus funds. In July, Time reported that Biden had been able to get every governor on the line except Sarah Palin of Alaska, Rick Perry of Texas, and Jindal.
Jindal has been one of the most outspoken critics of the Recovery Act — at the same time he goes around the state and takes credit for the federal dollars he was handing out. In July, Jindal declared the legislation a “stimulus that has not stimulated.” Yet he had no problems with handing out giant checks with his name on them…that contained millions of dollars of Recovery Act funds for job training programs, housing assistance programs, homelessness prevention programs, police training, criminal justice technology upgrades, and community development block grants.
A Jindal appointee has even blocked the state transportation department from placing signs indicating that projects were funded by the stimulus:
State projects financed with federal stimulus dollars will have no signs that say that, said Mark Lambert, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation and Development.
Lambert said the decision was made by DOTD Secretary William Ankner.
“He directed that signs not go up,” Lambert said of Ankner.
Lambert noted, however, that “road and bridge work paid for with state surplus dollars included signs that pointed out the source of the funds.” His explanation was that the state signs were cheaper. ThinkProgress contacted Jindal’s office to ask why the governor skipped the Biden call, but we did not receive a response.