Lewis Introduces Legislation to Rescind Stimulus Spending NOW
“American Recovery and Reinvestment Rescission Act” will repeal remaining stimulus funds to pay down the deficit
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis will today introduce legislation to rescind all remaining unobligated “stimulus” funds and return the money to the U.S. Treasury for deficit reduction. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that approximately $12 billion in stimulus funds remain unobligated and are sitting unused in federal accounts. Lewis stated that his bill, the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Rescission Act,” is a “tip of the iceberg” down payment on the larger effort to start immediately reining in the nation’s $1.3 trillion deficit.
“The Democrats’ stimulus has proved to be a costly failure when it comes to creating jobs and improving the economy. We must stop the spending of any of these funds NOW, before the Obama Administration rushes to spend what’s left before Republicans return to the majority in January. While we have a long way to go to rein in government spending, the legislation I’m introducing today is a ‘tip of the iceberg’ effort to stop wasting tax-dollars on ineffective stimulus programs, reduce the nation’s exploding deficits and debt, and get us on the path to job creation and economic recovery,” Lewis said.
Without intervention from Congress, the Administration will likely make a furious attempt to spend the remaining stimulus funds in a mad dash before the next Congress convenes in January with a Republican majority. Lewis’s bill would immediately halt any such action. Lewis also sent a letter today to President Obama, requesting that he instruct his administration to immediately cease spending of any unobligated stimulus funds, and asking for his support for the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Rescission Act.”
The full text of the letter from Ranking Member Lewis to President Obama follows:
November 15, 2010
Dear Mr. President:
House Republicans will be in the forefront of efforts to dramatically cut spending in the 112th Congress. But there is no reason why we cannot begin this effort immediately—today—in the closing days of the 111th Congress. For this reason, I am today introducing the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Rescission Act,” legislation representing the first step toward rescinding billions of dollars of unspent federal funding and immediately applying it to deficit reduction.
House Republicans have listened to the American people and are committed to shrinking the size and scope of government. This commitment to cut spending will consist of rescinding previously appropriated dollars passed under the current Democratic majority as well as dramatically scaling back funding proposed by your Administration in its final two years.
House Republicans have pledged to begin putting our Nation's fiscal house in order by reducing the FY11 non-security spending bills to their Fiscal Year 2008 levels, saving taxpayers $100 billion compared your Administration’s spending plan. Make no mistake: House Republicans will honor the commitment made in the Pledge to America.
There is no better place to begin this process than by returning to the U.S. Treasury unobligated funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), one of the most costly and ineffective bills in modern history. According to an ABC/Washington Post poll released in October, 68 percent of Americans believe the spending associated with the stimulus bill was wasteful while just 29 percent felt that this funding was well-spent. You may believe this failure was the result of a poor White House sales effort, but the public was justifiably wary of this package from the very beginning. The stimulus bill failed to create jobs at a time of high unemployment. In fact, the percentage of unemployed Americans actually rose, validating the public’s negative view.
Much of the discretionary stimulus funding has already been distributed to specific programs with most of it dispersed to questionable projects that failed to create jobs. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), there is currently $12 billion in unobligated funds available for rescission. However, in the wake of the historic elections earlier this month, federal agencies are undoubtedly working overtime to spend this money—nearly two years after the “stimulus” was first enacted. I respectfully request that you halt the distribution of these unallocated stimulus dollars immediately and support our effort to return billions in taxpayer funds to the Treasury at once for deficit reduction. At a time of $1.3 trillion dollar deficits and historic levels of debt (nearly $14 trillion), our country can ill afford to throw away billions more on a stimulus program that does not work and the public abhors.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Rescission Act will rescind all remaining unobligated stimulus dollars left from the $282 billion in discretionary spending that was originally appropriated in the stimulus bill. This represents a first down-payment in GOP efforts to eliminate wasteful government spending and reduce the deficit. I urge your Administration to join House Republicans in supporting this common-sense legislation that embraces the American public’s demand for less Washington spending.
S/ Jerry Lewis