UPDATE 1-White House warns Republicans on canceling stimulus

* White House says tens of thousands of jobs at stake

* Republican says unspent money would help cut deficit
(Adds Lewis response, details, background)

WASHINGTON, Nov 19 (BestGrowthStock) – The White House has warned
Republicans that high-speed rail projects and a gigantic solar
power complex would be imperiled if they cancel unspent federal
stimulus money to try to trim the U.S. government’s budget.

In a letter obtained by Reuters on Friday, President Barack
Obama’s acting budget director says tens of thousands of jobs
would be lost if Republicans cancel the roughly $12 billion in
stimulus funds that the government has not yet spent.

“In addition to bringing existing efforts to a halt
midstream, the proposed recissions would negatively impact our
economic strength both now and in the future,” Acting Director
Jeffrey Zients said in a Nov. 17 letter to Representative Jerry
Lewis, the top Republican on the House of Representatives
Appropriations Committee.

Zients said several projects in Lewis’s home state of
California would be affected: $2 billion to build high-speed
rail service between Anaheim and San Francisco; a $1.4 billion
solar power complex in the Mojave Desert; and a $33 million
rail-crossing upgrade to relieve congestion.

Lewis introduced legislation this week that would rescind
money that remains unspent from the $814 billion stimulus
package, which passed in 2009, as a first step in some $100
billion in budget cuts Republicans hope to enact when they take
control of the House next year.

“It’ll be tough, but sacrifices have to be made to rein in
the deficit, which we absolutely have to do, and he’s willing
to start at home,” Lewis spokeswoman Jennifer Hing said.

Lewis hopes to head the Appropriations Committee, which
oversees federal spending, when Republicans take control of the
House in January. At least one other Republican, Representative
Hal Rogers, is vying for the post as well.

The U.S. budget deficit hit 8.9 percent of gross domestic
product in the past fiscal year, one of the highest levels on
record since World War Two.

Republicans have roundly criticized the economic stimulus
effort, a package of tax cuts, state aid and construction
spending, as ineffective even though the nonpartisan
Congressional Budget Office estimates that it has put millions
of people to work and raised national output by hundreds of
billions of dollars.

Voters also believe that it has failed to blunt the impact
of the worst recession since the 1930s.
(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Xavier Briand)

UPDATE 1-White House warns Republicans on canceling stimulus