Americans For Prosperity: “Nevada Needs Jobs”

An ad from Americans for Prosperity hammers Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) for supporting the “failed $800 billion stimulus” and mocks Berkley for saying in 2009 that Nevada “received extraordinary benefits” from the law. However, the Recovery Act created jobs and cut taxes for millions of Americans, preventing the recession from becoming even more devastating. In addition, AFP fails to provide context for Berkley’s statement, which specifically explained how the Recovery Act helped Nevadans who were suffering the impact of the economic crisis. The ad also accuses Berkley of voting for “more wasteful spending,” citing only her support for the Affordable Care Act – which actually reduces the deficit.

“Failed” Stimulus Created Jobs, Cut Taxes, Boosted GDP

Recovery Act “Succeeded In…Protecting The Economy During The Worst Of The Recession.” From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report estimates that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) increased the number of people employed by between 200,000 and 1.5 million jobs in March. In other words, between 200,000 and 1.5 million people employed in March owed their jobs to the Recovery Act. […] ARRA succeeded in its primary goal of protecting the economy during the worst of the recession. The CBO report finds that ARRA’s impact on jobs peaked in the third quarter of 2010, when up to 3.6 million people owed their jobs to the Recovery Act. Since then, the Act’s job impact has gradually declined as the economy recovers and certain provisions expire.” [, 5/29/12]

At Its Peak, Recovery Act Was Responsible For Up To 3.6 Million Jobs. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office:

CBO estimates that ARRAs [sic] policies had the following effects in the third quarter of calendar year 2010:

  • They raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product by between 1.4 percent and 4.1 percent,
  • Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.8 percentage points and 2.0 percentage points,
  • Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.6 million, and
  • Increased the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs by 2.0 million to 5.2 million compared with what would have occurred otherwise. (Increases in FTE jobs include shifts from part-time to full-time work or overtime and are thus generally larger than increases in the number of employed workers). [, 11/24/10]

Recovery Act Included $288 Billion In Tax Cuts. From PolitiFact: “Nearly a third of the cost of the stimulus, $288 billion, comes via tax breaks to individuals and businesses. The tax cuts include a refundable credit of up to $400 per individual and $800 for married couples; a temporary increase of the earned income tax credit for disadvantaged families; and an extension of a program that allows businesses to recover the costs of capital expenditures faster than usual. The tax cuts aren’t so much spending as money the government won’t get — so it can stay in the economy.” [, 2/17/10]

AFP Selectively Quotes Rep. Berkley Explaining How The Recovery Act Helped Nevada Residents

Berkley: Stimulus Money “Keeping Many Families Afloat During This Economic Crisis.” In a statement on the House floor, Rep. Shelley Berkley said: “We have the highest mortgage foreclosure rate in the country in my congressional district and I have one of the highest unemployment rates. And what makes this so startling is perhaps a year ago there was virtually no unemployment in my district and in the State of Nevada. There has been a lot of criticism about the stimulus package. It is called the Recovery Act, more commonly known as the stimulus package. People say it is not big enough. People say it is not fast enough and that it is not working. But I have to tell you, the people of Nevada have received extraordinary benefits from this stimulus package. There was a reason that I voted for it. It provided education funding, unemployment benefits, health care benefits, tax breaks, Social Security money for my seniors, and my disabled veterans received substantial funds as well. According to the Nevada State Treasurer, $426 million in stimulus funds have already been paid out to people in Nevada. That doesn’t include the tax cuts, the Social Security payments or the payments to our disabled veterans. Money is flowing into Nevada and is keeping many families afloat during this economic crisis, and it is an economic crisis the likes of which none of us have ever seen and none of us ever thought would happen.” [Berkley Statement via, 7/28/09]

Berkley: “Federal Government Came To Our Rescue” With Funds That Prevented Teacher Layoffs And Other Education Cuts. In a statement on the House floor, Rep. Shelley Berkley said: “We all talk about the importance of education and how it is the most important thing that we can provide children for their future and for the future of this country. Well, Nevada was broke. The State legislature couldn’t figure out where we were going to get the money, and the Federal Government came to our rescue; $400 million in fiscal stabilization funds. What is that? That means that we are going to prevent teacher layoffs and other education cuts. We were restoring the money that was slashed by the Nevada Legislature, $70 million in special education, $70 million in disadvantaged student funding. These were so important for the people of Nevada, so important for our schoolchildren.” [Berkley Statement via, 7/28/09]

AFP’s Example Of “More Wasteful Spending” Is The Deficit-Cutting Health Care Law

The ad’s claim that Rep. Berkley voted for “more wasteful spending and higher taxes” cites Roll Call Vote 165 on March 21, 2010. That vote was on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

CBO: The Affordable Care Act Will Reduce Deficits By Over $200 Billion From 2012-2021. According to Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf’s testimony before the House on March 30, 2011: “CBO and JCT’s most recent comprehensive estimate of the budgetary impact of PPACA and the Reconciliation Act was in relation to an estimate prepared for H.R. 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, as passed by the House of Representatives on January 19, 2011. H.R. 2 would repeal the health care provisions of those laws. CBO and JCT estimated that repealing PPACA and the health-related provisions of the Reconciliation Act would produce a net increase in federal deficits of $210 billion over the 2012–2021 period as a result of changes in direct spending and revenues. Reversing the sign of the estimate released in February provides an approximate estimate of the impact over that period of enacting those provisions. Therefore, CBO and JCT effectively estimated in February that PPACA and the health-related provisions of the Reconciliation Act will produce a net decrease in federal deficits of $210 billion over the 2012–2021 period as a result of changes in direct spending and revenues.” [“CBO’s Analysis of the Major Health Care Legislation Enacted in March 2010,”, 3/30/11]

  • July 2012 Report Affirmed Projection That ACA Will Reduce Deficits. According to a Congressional Budget Office Report titled “Estimates for the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act Updated for the Recent Supreme Court Decision”: “CBO and JCT have not updated their estimate of the overall budgetary impact of the ACA; previously, they estimated that the law would, on net, reduce budget deficits.” [, July 2012]

NARRATOR: Three years ago, Shelley Berkley voted for President Obama’s failed $800 billion stimulus. And today, Nevada still leads the nation in foreclosures and unemployment. [REP. BERKLEY CLIP:] “The people of Nevada have received extraordinary benefits from the stimulus package.” [NARRATOR:] As Nevada struggles, Berkley votes for more wasteful spending and higher taxes. She actually believes– [REP. BERKLEY CLIP:] “The federal government came to our rescue.” [NARRATOR:] Do you feel rescued? Tell Shelley Berkley: Nevada needs jobs, not wasteful Washington spending. [Americans For Prosperity via, 6/25/12]