House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) has been one of the loudest critics of the Recovery Act, insisting that it hasn’t created any non-government jobs and proposing that it be canceled in order to “pay off the debt and deficit so we can get our fiscal house back in order.”
Today, Cantor held a job fair at Deep Run High School in Glen Allen, VA. As ThinkProgress reported yesterday, employers scheduled to attend the event have received more than $52 million in federal stimulus funds. ThinkProgress attended today’s job fair and asked the congressman during a press conference whether he would support repealing the stimulus (as several of his colleagues have advocated) and making businesses and state/local governments return the funds in order to help pay down the national debt:
TP: Congressman, you’ve been an outspoken opponent of the stimulus. Do you think it should be repealed?
CANTOR: The stimulus money ought to go back — that which is unallocated — to go and repay the debt that we’ve incurred, yes.
TP: So do you think that businesses — including many businesses here — and local governments should have to give the money back?
CANTOR: There are hundreds of billions of dollars of unallocated stimulus money right now, and we have seen the stimulus dollars that have been spent have not produced jobs. The stimulus was designed to lower the unemployment rate, to keep it from going over 8 percent. We know nationally now, it still hovers around 10 percent; here in our area, it’s 7 1/2 percent. So, obviously, government spending money doesn’t create jobs. This jobs fair is trying to match up people looking for employment to be hired.
TP: But the businesses here have received more than $52 million in stimulus funds. So you don’t think they’re creating any jobs?
CANTOR: I can’t respond to that because I don’t know whether your facts are straight.
Basically, Cantor is willing to go out and claim the stimulus isn’t doing any good, but he’s unwilling to take the tough position of asking businesses and governments to give back this supposedly useless money. Like at least 113 of his colleagues, Cantor has been a stimulus hypocrite, touting projects that have been made possible thanks to federal funding he opposed.
ThinkProgress also spoke to several representatives from companies at the job fair who said that they disagreed with Cantor’s views on the stimulus and unemployment benefits, and we’ll be posting on that tomorrow.