(CNSNews.com) - Keith Hall, the commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the federal agency responsible for tracking unemployment in the United States, told the Join Economic Committee of Congress today that he knew of no study that would back the claim that House Miniority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) made on Thursday that the unemployment rate would now be 15 percent were it not for the economic stimulus President Barack Obama signed in 2009.
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) asked Hall: “Have you seen any reputable studies that would lead you to believe or that would show that the unemployment rate today would be 15 percent but for the stimulus program?”
“No," said Hall, "but I haven’t, I haven’t looked. I’m not sure I would call--Was the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] estimating that?”
“No, that’s actually Mrs. Pelosi’s office this morning,” Mulvaney informed him.
“Oh, okay. I haven’t looked at that study,” Hall said.
Mulvaney followed up: “Do you think there is a study?”
“I really have no idea,” Hall said.
“You’ve never heard of any study that would say that unemployment would be 15 percent?” Mulvaney asked.
“No," said Hall, "but we’re pretty focused on the real data.”
“I’m focused on the real data as well, I just sort of was wondered if this had anything to do with real data and it sounds like it doesn’t,” Mulvaney said before concluding his questioning.
As earlier reported by CNSNews.com, the Congressional Budget Office in August estimated that in the fourth quarter of 2011, the stimulus would have the impact of reducing the national unemployment rate between 0.3 points to 1.1 points from what it otherwise would have been.
Since President Barack Obama signed his $825 billion economic stimulus plan in February 2009, the national unemployment rate has risen from 8.2 percent to 9.0 percent.