in Houston, Texas
Sens. Tom Coburn and John McCain's report criticizing federal stimulus spotlights shoddy work by Sheltering Arms Senior Services of Houston
Tuesday, Aug 03, 2010, 05:02PM CST
By Mark Lisheron

Shoddy workmanship by contractors for a $22.3 million stimulus weatherization project in Houston, first reported by Texas Watchdog, is featured in a report released today by Sens. Tom Coburn and John McCain.

The report, Summertime Blues, offers 100 examples of waste in programs funding by the $862 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Among many memorable, questionable expenditures, Sens. Coburn, R-Okla. and McCain, R-Ariz., single out a $62 million tunnel project in Pittsburgh called "a tragic mistake," by Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell; $700,000 for a study to learn why monkeys respond negatively to inequity and $363,760 for the National Institutes of Health to promote stimulus projects.


Number 26 on their list is the Texas Watchdog story reporting that 60 percent of the weatherizing jobs done by contractors for Sheltering Arms Senior Services of Houston required followup because of poor workmanship. Sheltering Arms' $22.3 million contract is the second largest overseen by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs in its $326 million Weatherization Assistance Program --- falling below the city of Houston's $23.5 million two-year contract.

The report questions other Texas projects, like an almost $200,000 study of people's perceptions of the stimulus by researchers at Rice University and the University of Texas at Dallas, and the building of two new fire stations in San Antonio which has been slowed by "complicated and expensive federal regulations," the report says.

In the report, the authors say the stimulus has failed to do the two things its sponsors promised: to stimulate the economy and create jobs. The report makes a pitch for government to get out of the way and give American entrepreneurs room to get the economy moving again.

“We owe it to every American to rebuild our economy without doing additional harm and in a manner that expands opportunities for future generations of Americans. Job creation should be a national priority, but torrential, misdirected government spending is not the way to do it.”

Mark Lisheron has written extensively about how the federal stimulus is playing out in Texas. To find all his reports, search STIMULUS at Contact Mark at 512-299-2318 or


Photo of the Capitol by flickr user scottlenger, used via a Creative Commons license.

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