States vie for $69B in infrastructure funds

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Republicans accused the majority of turning the bailout program into a “slush fund.”

Criticism of the last stimulus was tempered last week by a Labor Department report that the unemployment rate dropped to 10 percent in November from 10.2 percent in October. About 11,000 workers lost their jobs that month, significantly fewer than analysts expected.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, trumpeted the decline in the jobless rate as vindication that “our recovery efforts are moving our economy in the right direction.” She said the country still needs another stimulus bill, including more infrastructure spending.

Republicans stressed that a 10 percent unemployment rate leaves more than 15 million Americans looking for work and that nearly two-thirds of them - 9.2 million - lost their jobs since Democrats passed the stimulus in February.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor said a second round of road and bridge construction should be considered as part of another stimulus bill, but he questioned why more infrastructure spending is expected to have more success than the first round of spending did.

“That money did not make it to creating jobs, and that’s where we’ve got to be focused right now,” said Mr. Cantor, Virginia Republican. “We don’t have any money to spend. Every bit of money that we spend is money we don’t have, which means either higher taxes or borrowing on our children’s future.”

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