Lewis Statement on Democrats’ Flawed “Stimulus II” Spending Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis offered the following statement on the floor today regarding the Democrats’ flawed “stimulus II” legislation:
“Mr. Speaker, Chairman Obey calls this legislation the “Jobs for Main Street Act.” I call it “economic insanity.” Truly, this is one of those rare occasions when I hardly know where to begin. It’s because of legislation like this, and the manner in which it was produced, that the public has lost faith in this Congress and why confidence in Washington is at an all-time low.
“This legislation repeats the failures of the so-called Recovery Act by pouring another $150 billion into programs included in the original stimulus package that have so far failed to produce real results or real jobs.
“Secondly, this legislation adds an additional $150 billion to a budget deficit that has already tripled in the last year. The Democrat majority claims that this spending is offset with funds from the TARP program but under present law, these dollars are already dedicated to reducing the debt. The public should not be fooled; every dollar will come out of the treasury and taxpayers will be footing the bill.
Further, this legislation is a virtual mystery to almost every single member of the House. Its “contents were released just shy of midnight last night and there is no way for anyone to have read or understood it completely. How much thought or Member input actually went into it? I dare say very, very little.
“Ironically, it was Chairman Obey who said on December 11th, 2006, and I quote, “We will work to restore an accountable, above-board, transparent process for funding decisions and put an end to the abuses that have harmed the credibility of Congress.”
“Let me take just a moment to outline the “transparent process” by which this legislation comes before us today. Chairman Obey instructed his majority staff not to share any details or information with the minority staff about this bill. Chairman Obey’s staff sent the bill to the Rules Committee at 11:00 last evening. It has had no hearings, no markups, and is prevented from being amended on the floor today. Mr. Speaker, martial law in the House of Representatives is hardly “Change we can believe in.”
“Yet another irony in today’s debate is that the Democrat majority has suddenly found religion by championing so-called “PAYGO” rules. This is occurring at the very same time they are proposing to spend an additional $150 billion and even as they have voted to increase the debt limit.
“Not long ago, small business in America was the backbone and the lifeblood of our national economy. Today, higher taxes and excessive government regulations have small business in a stranglehold. And that’s even before Congress puts its stamp of approval on government run healthcare. With all this reliance on Uncle Sam, why don’t we just put everyone in the United States on the Federal government payroll and call it a day? In essence, that’s what this fatally flawed process attempts to do.
“According to Transportation Weekly, “Even if you only count title 1 of the Stimulus II bill as an appropriations bill, it would still be the third-largest FY 2010 discretionary appropriations bill—bigger than Agriculture, Commerce-Justice, Energy and Water, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Interior & Environment, Legislative Branch, State/Foreign Operations, and the THUD bill. Imagine what ranking member David Obey’s reaction would have been had a GOP majority moved a supplemental of this size to the House floor on less than 24 hours notice and with no committee markup.”
“On more than one occasion my friend, the majority leader, has suggested that the House minority has become the so-called “Party of No.” But he forgot to finish the sentence. House Republicans are the “Party of No More Spending Beyond our Means.” We are the “Party of No More Increases to the Historic Debt Limit.” Republicans in the House are the “Party of No More Busting the Spending Cap and Calling it ‘Emergency Spending.’”
“Our country’s economy will never recover as long as Congress continues making the same mistakes over and over again. Spending by this House majority is unconstrained and unsustainable. Billions and billions and billions spent on the continued expansion of government will only exacerbate our financial troubles and bring little or no relief to those without jobs.
“Through this legislation, Congress is demonstrating once again that it is both unwilling and incapable of restraining its appetite to spend. This is nothing short of a taxpayer-funded Christmas shopping spree financed with money borrowed from the Chinese.
“I appeal to my friends, the Blue Dogs, to take a stand on this legislation. If you’re serious about making a statement, this is your chance. Are the Blue Dogs serious about deficit reduction? If so, vote no!
“Mr. Speaker, simply put, this is an awful bill produced through a dreadful process. I strongly urge a “no” vote.”