Democrats pushed back Sunday against critics who say the $787 billion stimulus package didn’t deliver the promised results.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told FOX News that the federal spending bill pulled the country back from the precipice of another Great Depression and that it was meant to get the economy back on track over the next two years.
He said the White House is on schedule to spend 70 percent of the stimulus money by September 2010 and argued the intensity of the recession would have been longer and deeper without the spending bill.
But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the evidence shows that the stimulus package was a "big mistake."
"I think we can fairly safely declare it now a failure," McConnell told CNN Sunday. "It was sold to us as something that was going to jolt the economy, that was going to hold unemployment to 8 percent. Unemployment’s going over 10 percent."
Debate over the results of the stimulus package has been raging as the unemployment rate climbs and some economists and business leaders call for a second spending bill designed to help guide the economy through a downturn that has left millions without jobs.
Unemployment -- which is at 9.5 percent and expected to top 10 percent this year -- has risen faster than previously anticipated.
President Obama expressed high hopes for the stimulus program right after his election.
"We need a big stimulus package that will jolt the economy back into shape and that is focused on the 2.5 million jobs I intend to create during the first part of my administration," Obama said. "We have to put people back to work."
But Republicans have seized on the public’s growing unease over government debt and spending to challenge the popular president.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that she doesn’t support a second stimulus package.
"I believe that good times are ahead," she told CNN. "I would rather just stick with the initiative that we have, get it out faster if we can, but not worry about doing another stimulus package."
Vice President Biden said in an opinion article published in The New York Times that the economic stimulus was "intended to provide steady support for our economy over an extended period -- not a jolt that would last only a few months."
He also said last week during a speech in Virginia that without the federal spending, the county would go bankrupt.
"People, when I say that, look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?" he said. "The answer is yes."
FOX News' Steve Centanni contributed to this report.