04/21/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

An Open Challenge on Jobs to the Republican Leadership

Repeating a lie over and over doesn't make it true. But if you listen to Republicans on the subject of job creation and the federal stimulus package, it's obvious they don't understand that or care.

Newly-elected Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (R) recently declared that the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) - signed into law by President Obama a year ago this week - "didn't create one new job."

Taking dishonesty and hypocrisy a step further, House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) has shown the audacity to appear at press conferences celebrating federal stimulus-funded projects, despite vocal opposition to the federal stimulus package itself "as completing failing to create jobs."

It's time to stop misleading people and start telling the truth.

The truth in San Francisco is that thousands of people and their families (2,910 and counting to date) now have the dignity of work and a paycheck because of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. To Senator Brown and Representative Cantor and to all the other Republican leaders who knowingly mislead the American people, I invite you to come here to San Francisco to meet the families and individuals whose lives have changed because of the leadership of President Obama and the Democratic Congress in passing a much-needed federal stimulus package one year ago.

Top economists agree that the stimulus package has added between 1.6 to 1.8 million jobs to the U.S. economy at a time when we faced our greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. In California, our unemployment rate remains at 12%, but there's no question it would be far higher without federal stimulus funds.

In San Francisco, we have among the lowest unemployment rates in the State of California at 9.4%, but it is still unacceptably high. But through the leadership of Speaker Pelosi, Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer, we are investing federal stimulus dollars to rebuild our city and regional infrastructure and put thousands of people back to work. Here are some of the facts about the federal stimulus package, San Francisco and jobs:

  • $32.2 million from a stimulus program for needy families with children that in San Francisco we call JobsNow! JobsNow! is a 100% wage subsidy program that allows private, nonprofit and public sector employers to hire unemployed San Franciscans. To date, San Francisco's Jobs Now! program has helped 1,854 residents get back to work - 70% in the private sector - and more are being hired every day.
  • $71.8 million in transit capital assistance grants benefitting the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency. At last report, the agency spent25.8 million and created more than 600 jobs.
  • $16.6 million in COPS funding for the San Francisco Police Department to hire and train 50 new police officers. And last year San Francisco had the lowest homicide rate since the 1960's.
  • $33.2 million in funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to the San Francisco Housing Authority for building repairs, including weatherization, painting, health and safety and general site improvements. At last report, the Housing Authority spent3.2 million and created 192 jobs.

And the list goes on. It's one thing to have an honest disagreement about the best way to create jobs in a recession and whether government should play a role in our economic recovery. It's quite another thing to knowingly lie or mislead the American people to score political points for the next election. Thousands of San Franciscans - and millions of Americans - have the dignity of a job today as a direct result of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. Every time Republicans like Scott Brown and Eric Cantor deny this fact they show enormous disrespect to those millions of hardworking Americans. So Senator Brown, Congressman Cantor, come on out to San Francisco anytime. I'd be glad to personally introduce you to some of them.