White House Defends Green Stimulus Funding After Romney Calls Obama ‘Outsourcer-in-Chief’

July 12, 2012 - 4:53 PM
Obama AdWatch

FILE - In this July 10, 2012 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

(CNSNews.com) – In the campaign battle over who is the biggest outsourcer, the White House Thursday defended the stimulus funding for green jobs after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called President Barack Obama the “outsourcer-in-chief,” citing some of the green jobs that went overseas.

The most notable green project to get money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus, was Fisker, which got $529 million from the Department of Energy, $359 million of which was supposed to go toward a plant in Wilmington, Del. However, Fisker began assembling its first line of cars in Finland in 2011. USA Today reported that the Fisker Plant in Delaware is “absolutely empty.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that stimulus spending on green projects kept jobs in the United States.

“The Recovery Act had many components, but one was to provide direct relief to states to stop the hemorrhaging of jobs in areas like public schools and police and fire departments, and the other was to give the middle class a tax cut to get through this terrible recession,” Carney said.

“And another was to make long-term investments in areas that would help the economy grow in the future,” Carney said. “One of the successes of this Recovery Act was getting companies that have a choice of building facilities in China, or India, or Europe, or the United States to make the choice to build in the United States. There is example after example of that. The advanced battery industry is a good one. It was virtually non-existent when this president took office.

“U.S. facilities had about three percent of the market, and we are well on our way to having a substantial portion of that market because of the Recovery Act. So, I can talk about the president’s position on insourcing vs. outsourcing, his demand that Congress act to end incentives that encourage companies to outsource,” he said.

The Obama campaign has criticized Romney for his time at the venture capital firm Baine Capital for outsourcing jobs.

At a July 10 town hall meeting in Grand Junction, Colo., Romney criticized the Obama administration’s stimulus spending.

“By the way, he likes to talk about outsourcing. He’s run some interesting attack ads on me on that topic,” Romney said. “You may have seen that, and interestingly, an independent, unbiased fact-checking organization looked at his ads and looked at that attack and said it’s false and misleading.

“But it is interesting that when it comes to outsourcing, that this president has been outsourcing a good deal of American jobs himself by putting money into energy companies, solar and wind energy companies that end up making their products outside the United States. If there is an outsourcer-in-chief, it’s the president of the United States, not the guy who’s running to replace him,” Romney added.

In another example of stimulus spending, $450 million in federal dollars was directed toward a $1.5 billion Texas wind energy project. The 648-megawatt wind farm was supposed to cover 36,000 acres and generate enough electricity to power up to 180,000 American homes each year.

But the 2,000 jobs it was expected to create were mostly in Shenyang, China, the main site of the wind-turbine construction. Another 300 temporary jobs will be created in Texas. The project was a joint venture between the Shenyang Power Group and a Texas firm called Cielo Wind Power and the U.S. Renewable Energy Group.