Biden: New Stimulus Needed ‘Even if We’re Growing at 8%’ and Have ‘3% Unemployment Rate’

By Penny Starr | September 29, 2011 | 5:00pm EDT

Vice President Joe Biden spoke at the Alexandria Police Department in Alexandria, Va., on Sept. 29, 2011. ( Starr)

( – Vice President Joe Biden said Congress should pass the $450-billion American Jobs Act even if the economy were growing at 8 percent and unemployment were as low as 3 percent.

“Look, we should be doing all of this stuff even if we were growing by 8 percent, even if there was a 3 percent unemployment rate in America,” Biden said at an event on Thursday to promote the legislation. “We need better roads, we need better bridges, we need safer streets.”

“We need to be in a position where our kids are in classrooms where there’s enough qualified teachers, where they are in fact in classes where they are safe,” Biden said.

The vice president made his remarks at the headquarters of the Alexandria Police Department in Alexandria, Va., where he also announced that the agency was one of the recipients of a federal grant to fund the hiring of new officers.

The Alexandria Police Department will hire four officers with the almost $859,000 it received from the more than $243 million in grant funds.

“We’ve got to kick start this economy that’s stalled,” Biden said of the $450 -billion proposed American Jobs Act.

On Sept. 19 in a Rose Garden speech, President Barack Obama said the legislation, to be funded in part by increased taxes on the wealthiest Americans, was about improving economic growth and job creation.

“And that’s what this debate is about,” Obama said. “It’s not about numbers on a ledger; it’s not about figures on a spreadsheet. “

“It’s about the economic future of this country, and it’s about whether we will do what it takes to create jobs and growth and opportunity while facing up to the legacy of debt that threatens everything we’ve built over generations,” he said.

The president also emphasized the urgency of passing the legislation, just as he did when he told Congress in 2009 that passing the $820-billion stimulus package would keep unemployment at 8 percent.

Since the first stimulus package was passed in February 2009 when the national unemployment rate was 8.2 percent, the figure has continued to increase, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In November 2010 the unemployment rate hit 9.8 percent for the third time since Obama signed the first stimulus bill into law. In August 2011 the unemployment rate was 9.1 percent.

When Obama took office in January 2009 the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent.

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