Former Obama Officials to Congress: “We Can’t Afford to Nickel and Dime the COVID Recovery”

New from Invest in America Action:

The challenges our country faced when President Barack Obama first took office more than a decade ago were staggering. We faced an economic crisis the size of which hadn’t been seen since the dark days of the Great Depression.

It was a national emergency that required an urgent response from our government, which is why we fought tooth and nail to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), ultimately saving and protecting millions of jobs, raising the GDP by up to 4 percent in 2010 alone, and cutting the unemployment rate in half — the fastest pace of decline in thirty years. With investments and tax incentives supporting clean energy, education, and infrastructure projects, the ARRA also took critical steps to support long-term growth.

However, while the ARRA helped staunch the bleeding, the resistance we faced from deficit fear mongers seeking to water it down ate up valuable time and diluted the amount of aid that reached struggling families and small businesses.

Instead of working to ensure the bill matched the size of the crisis, Congressional Republicans focused on making dramatic cuts, claiming the emergency didn’t justify the expense. They halved the funds for public school construction, cut $26 billion from President Obama’s “making work pay” tax relief program and slashed funding for state and local aid. These shortsighted efforts ended up prolonging the economic pain and inhibited our ability to bounce back quickly.

We can’t let the same thing happen again.

President Joe Biden has inherited an even worse situation than our nation faced back in 2009: a national health crisis that has led to the deaths of more than 400,000 Americans on top of an economic catastrophe that has put tens of millions out of work and shuttered hundreds of thousands of businesses, with both crises hitting communities of color especially hard.

Unfortunately, his efforts to restore the economy by putting money in people’s pockets and saving jobs are already being met with opposition from those claiming we can’t afford it. They are using the same arguments they used to undermine the ARRA that cost our economy nearly a million jobs.

But we know from history that they are wrong and sabotaging the ability of our nation to fully and equitably recover.

The only thing we can’t afford is to underfund America’s recovery.

Every dollar we spend to strengthen our nation during this time of crisis is a downpayment that will pay for itself and help our country thrive in the future. We must learn the lessons from the last economic crisis and pass a large stimulus package to get us back on track.

In the words of President Biden when he announced the plan, “failure to do so will cost us dearly.”


Tom Perez, Former U.S. Secretary of Labor
Kathleen Sebelius, Former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services
Julian Castro, Former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Arne Duncan, Former U.S. Secretary of Education
John King, Former U.S. Secretary of Education
Janet Napolitano, Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security
John Podesta, Former Counselor to President Obama
Valerie Jarrett, Former Senior Adviser to President Obama
Nancy-Ann DeParle, Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy
Alyssa Mastromonaco, Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff
Ben Rhodes, Former Deputy National Security Advisor
Dan Pfeiffer, Former Senior Advisor to President Obama
Jon Favreau, Former White House Director of Speechwriting
Deesha Dyer, Former White House Social Secretary
Jay Carney, Former White House Press Secretary
Cody Keenan, Former White House Director of Speechwriting
Elizabeth Allen, Former White House Deputy Communications Director, Speechwriting
Amy Dudley, Former Deputy Press Secretary to Vice President Joe Biden
Kendra Barkoff, Former Press Secretary to Vice President Joe Biden
Moe Vela, Former Director of Administration and Senior Advisor for Vice President Joe Biden
Shailagh Murray, Former Senior Advisor to President Obama
Marie Aberger, Press Wrangler, White House Press Office
Matt Lehrich, Acting Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach, U.S. Department of Education
Caroline Stevens, Regional Communications Director, White House Press Office
Jonathan Schorr, Communications Director, Department of Education
Rhett Buttle, Director, Private Sector Engagement, Office of the Secretary, HHS
Suzi Emmerling, Deputy Chief of Staff, USDOT
Mario Cardona, Senior Policy Advisor, White House Domestic Policy Council
TJ Adams-Falconer, White House Office of Communications
Joshua Gray, Media Monitor, Communications
Lindsay Crawford Dworkin, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Communications and Outreach, U.S. Department of Education
Ayame Dinkler , HHS, OASH and ONC
Tim Granholm, Legislative Assistant, The White House
Phillip Larson, CalTech
Ruthanne Buck, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, US Department of Education
Brian Chiglinsky, Director of Speechwriting and Editorial, US Department of Health and Human Services
Keith Maley , Senior Director of Regional Communications, White House
Meredith Bohen, Researcher, The White House, Department of Communications
Geoffrey Roth Senior Advisor, Indian Health Service, HHS
Shailagh Murray, Former Senior Advisor to President Obama
S.Y. Lee, Deputy Spokesperson, Department of Homeland Security
Nick Mizaur, Special Advisor, Office of the Secretary, Department of Commerce
Colleen Curtis, Office of Digital Strategy, Director of Digital Content
Pat Cunnane, Senior Writer/ Dep. Dir. Messaging (WHO)
Esther Y. Kang, Designer-in-Residence, White House Inititiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
Rafael Lemaitre, Director of Public Affairs, FEMA
Chris Lu, Deputy Secretary, Department of Labor
Ryan Lynch, Department of Transportation
Douglas A Smith, Assistant Secretary, Department of Homeland Security
Marjorie Connolly, National Press Secretary, HHS
Lina Garcia, Former Media Director, U.S. Department of Labor
Alison Kukla, Special Assistant, White House Office of Public Engagement
Pamela S Hyde, Manager, Hyde & Associates – Policy and Practice Consulting, LLC
Ruthe Farmer, Senior Policy Advisory for Tech Inclusion, OSTP, EOP
Anna Humphrey, Senior Director, West Wing Writers
Mark W. Rupp, Deputy Associate Administrator for Intergovernmental Relations, USEPA
Anne Castle, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, Department of the Interior
Benjamin Shannon, Policy Advisor, HHS
Bo Machayo, Principal Deputy Associate Director, Office of Public Engagement, White House Council on Environmental Quality
Damien LaVera, Press Secretary, Department of Energy
Ronnie Cho, Associate Director, Office of Public Engagement
Meghan Roh, Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (HHS)
Jesse Lee, Special Assistant to the President and Director of Rapid Response
Kip Wainscott, Senior Director of Cabinet Affairs and Senior Policy Advisor, The White House
Rashan Prailow, Associate, PPO
Paul Monteiro, Associate Director, White House Office of Public Engagement
Robert Baker, Lead Technologist, Global Innovation Lab, USAID
Kenny Thompson, Director of Message Events – Office of the Vice President
Philip M. Martin, Senior Policy Advisor and Director of Operations, Office of the Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Education
Greg Millett, Senior Policy Advisor ONAP, DPC
Allison Ehrich Bernstein, Speechwriter, Bureau of Educations and Cultural Affairs, State Department
Joshua Pollack, Special Assistant to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education
Andy Le, Senior Director of Digital Strategy, Department of Education
Shin Inouye, Former Director of Specialty Media, White House Office of Communications
Minh Le, Senior Advisor, OMB
Tony Hernandez, Administrator Rural Housing Services
Jo Handelsman, Associate Director for Science, OSTP
Susan Olshuff, Field Organizer, Western MA
Michael Botticelli, Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy
Albert Shen, National Deputy Director, U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency
Alex Harman, White House Liaison, Homeland Security
Yvette Badu-Nimako, Attorney Advisor, Department of Justice
Star Silva, Special Assistant, PHMSA, Department of Transportation
Aparna Kumar (Fmr.) Senior Writer, US Department of Education
Eleanor Bravo Field Organizer
Molly Kawahata, Policy Advisor, White House Domestic Policy Council
Jenny Backus, Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at HHS
David Whitman, Chief Speechwriter, U.S. Department of Education
Charmion Kinder, former associate, Press Office of the First Lady, White House; former assistant press secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development
Chloe Schwenke, President, Center for Values in Int’l Development
Francey Lim Youngberg, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Engagement at HUD
May C Chu, OSTP
Michael Block, Associate Director, White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
Ross Dakin, Presidential Innovation Fellow
Melanie Newman, Director of Public Affairs, DOJ
Tammy Dickinson, Principal Assistant Director, Energy and Enviornment, OSTP
Beth Cole, Director, Office of Civilian Military Cooperation, USAID
Kelsey Donohue, Office of the First Lady
Shara Sparks, Special Assistant, USAID
Charles J. Homer, MD, MPH, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Human Services Policy, ASPE, HHS
Maria Pastrana Lujan, Advisor, WHIAAPI and WHIEEH
John Wesley Bigby Northington Jr, Advisor to the Director, Department of the Interior
Lizette Olmos Godfrey, Department of Health and Human Services
Moe Vela, Former Dir. of Management and Sr. Advisor to VP Biden
Lauren Vrazilek, Deputy Press Secretary for First Lady Michelle Obama, The White House
Johanna Maska, Director of Press Advance, White House Office of Scheduling and Advance
Mayra Alvarez, Director, Public Health Policy, Office of Health Reform, Department of Health and Human Services
Allison Bormel, Senior Communications Advisor, USAID
Jaye Espy, Chief of Staff, White House Initiative on HBCUs
Rod Hall, Asst. Administrator for Government Affairs – Federal Aviation Administration
Ariel Pablos, AA/GH, USAID
Dr Tyrone Grandison, Deputy Chief Data Officer, US Department of Commerce
Dorie Turner Nolt, Press Secretary, U.S. Department of Education
Joshua Friedmann, Special Assistant, Council on Environmental Quality
Brenda McKinney, Special Assistant, USAID
Rose Hacking, Deputy Assistant Secretary (HHS)
Gina Flores, Senior Advisor for Public Affairs, DHS
Philip Duffy, OSTP
Jonta Williams, Deputy Coordinator Africa Ebola Unit, USAID
Michael Hash, Director, Office of Health Reform, HHS
Victoria Esser, Assistant Secretary, Public Affairs, Treasury Department
Jordan Thomas, Congressional Officer, U.S. Department of Labor
Evan Wessel, Legislative Officer, Department of Labor
Laura Rodriguez, USAID
James J. Reed, N.E. Regional Administrator, U.S. Dept. Of Housing and Urban Development
Christopher Moffo, Former Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, U.S. Department of Defense
Kate Garza, Senior Counselor & Chief of Staff, Department of Labor
Darienne Page, Director, Veterans Wounded Warriors and Military Families Outreach, Executive Office of the President
John P Comings, Policy Advisor, Office of Education, USAID
Thomas Richards, Chief of Staff, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, Department of Labor
Daniel Brundage, Special Assistant to the Senior Advisor & Deputy Chief of Staff, The White House
Clay Middleton, Special Advisor, Department of Energy Office of External Affairs
Mark Antoniewicz, Associate Director for Public Engagement, White House Council on Environmental Quality
Marquita V Sanders, Special Advisor, Housing and Urban Development
Kelley Smith, Director of Communications and International Affairs Advisor, Office of Science Policy, EPA
Marissa Padilla, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, US Department of Health & Human Services
Heidi VanGenderen, Director of Public Engagement, U.S. Department of Energy
Nish Acharya, Senior Advisor to the US Secretary of Commerce
Ashley Mushnick, Speechwriter, U.S. Department of Commerce
Jessica Allen, Former White House Press Assistant
Hope E. Hall, Filmmaker, Principal White House Videographer
Joan M. Frye, Senior Staff Associate, National Science Foundation (retired)
Joshunda Sanders, Principal Deputy Press Secretary, Public Affairs, Department of Energy
Emma Vadehra, Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Education
Leslie Dach, Senior Counselor to the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services
John Kelly, Deputy Chief of Staff, Corporation for National and Community Service
Rafael López, Commissioner-Administration for Children, Youth and Families-U.S. Health & Human Services Department; Senior Policy Advisor, The White House
Mary Smith, CEO, Indian Health Service, HHS
Lauren Sprott, Special Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia, Department of Defense
Juliet Johnson, Director, Office of Communications, CMS – Obama Administration
Read G Holman, Policy Advisor, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Janine Gianfredi, U.S. Digital Service
Tait Sye, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, HHS
Lea M. Crusey, Sr. Policy Advisor, US ED
Adria Crutchfield, US Department of Housing & Urban Development
Susan Markham, Senior Gender Coordinator, USAID
Molly Dillon, Policy Advisor, White House Domestic Policy Council
Drew Lakin, Confidential Assistant, U.S. Department of Education
Eugene Resnick, White House Intern Summer 2010, Office of Presidential Correspondence
Quinn Fitzgerald, Office of Public Engagement, The White House
Erica De Vos, Deputy Chief of Staff, Department of Energy
Stephanie Beechem, Research Director, U.S. Department of State (2014-17)
Vikrum Dave Aiyer, Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary of Commerce for IP & US Patent and Trademark Office
Massie Ritsch, Acting Asst. Secretary for Communications and Outreach, U.S. Department of Education
Aracely Macias, Associate Director for Operations and Engagement, Office of Minority Health, U.S Department of Health and Human Services
Jennifer Nilsson, Former Director of External Engagement, DHS Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
Christine Dickason, Deputy Assistant Director of Correspondence, Office of the First Lady
Stephanie Lee Dep. Director of Scheduling for the First Lady
Hannah Chatalas, Research Associate, Office of the First Lady
Pantea Faed, Deputy Associate Director of the White House Social Office, Office of the First Lady
David Cavell, Presidential Speechwriter, White House Office of Communications, Executive Office of the President
Tina Tchen, Chief of Staff to the First Lady and Executive Director of the WH Council on Women and Girls
Khalilah M. Harris, Senior Advisor to the Director at OPM
Alan O. Fitts, Trip Director to First Lady Michelle Obama
Ryan Daniels, Associate Director of Communications, The White House & Spokesperson, US Department of the Treasury
Deborah Delisle, Former Assistant Secretary, OESE, U.S. Dept. of Education
Benjamin Levine, Special Assistant and Advisor for Global Economics and Finance, White House National Security Council
Joe Reinstein, Deputy Social Secretary OFL
Paulina Montanez-Montes, Deputy Director, Executive Secretariat, U.S. Department of Commerce
Natasha Lawrence, Council of Economic Advisers
Sawyer Hackett, Assistant Press Secretary, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development
Klevis Xharda, Former Office of the First Lady, The White House
Hannah Hankins, Communications Director and Senior Policy Advisor, Domestic Policy Council, White House
Jordan Finegan, Advisor, US Department of the Interior
Bartlett Jackson, Deputy Press Secretary, US Department of Energy
Ary Amerikaner, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Department of Education
Janet Napolitano, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security
Jamey Anderson, Advisor, Department of the Interior
Andrew Estrada, Deputy Press Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation
Clarence J. Fluker, Deputy Associate Director of National Parks and Youth Engagement, White House Council on Environmental Quality
Gail Adams, Director, Office of Intergovernmental & External Affairs (DOI)
Craig Dorsett, Policy Advisor, Department of the Interior
Kendra Lamy, Press Secretary VP Biden/ Department of Interior
Nahal (Hamidi), Adler, Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary of Policy Management and Budget, Department of the Interior
Liz Oxhorn, Recovery Act Communications Director, EOP/OVP
Jessica Santillo , Assistant Press Secretary, The White House
Max Oltersdorf, Former Director for Private Sector Engagement at USTR
Jeanette Quick, Senior Attorney, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Andrea Ayres OFA: Forward Colorado FO
Cleve Mesidor, Director of Public Affairs, U.S. Dept of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration
Liz Morrison, Obama 2012, Video Producer
Brook Colangelo, Chief Information Officer of the White House & EOP
Joe Hicken, Team Chief, Department of Defense
Tom Bellino, Field Organizer, OFA ’08
Manuel Buenrostro, Policy Advisor, US Department of Education
Sarah Coleman, Senior Policy Analyst
Waylon Haselhorst , Organizer, 2012 OFA
Julia Duncan, Special Assistant & Foreign Affairs Officer, Office of Global Food Security, State Department
Wilson Aiwuyor, Special Assistant, Office of Postsecondary Education, US Department of Education
J. Todd Breasseale, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Public Affairs
Andrew McMahon, Regional Administrator, General Services Administration
Jessica Schumer, Chief of Staff – Council of Economic Advisers
Philip Stupak, Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Amy Brundage, Deputy White House Communications Director
Maria Perez-Hodges, Deputy White House Liaison, Department of State
Chelsea Crooks, Special Assistant, Department of Health and Human Services
Joe Hurst, DoC, Economic Development Administration Alum
Adam Fetcher, Press Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior
Levi Bohanan, Special projects manager, U.S. Department of Education