WASHINGTON - The Obama administration said on Monday its economic stimulus had saved or created 250,000 education jobs, as it sought to push back against Republicans who contend the package was wasteful and had not worked.

Faced with pressure to act to help spur job growth with the U.S. unemployment rate at 9.8 percent, President Barack Obama is considering new steps to help the economy, on top of the $787 billion stimulus package passed earlier this year.

But those discussions are in the preliminary stages and Obama may be constrained in what he can do, given the record $1.4 trillion budget deficit.

The administration has been trying to make the case that the stimulus package has helped offset what otherwise would have been much worse job losses.

U.S. Vice President Biden said in a statement that the stimulus was helping soften the blow of tough times, by keeping educators on the job and teachers in the classroom.

The statement said the stimulus money was helping states fill budget gaps that otherwise would have resulted in big job losses for school districts and universities.

(Reporting by Caren Bohan; editing by Mohammad Zargham)