Lewis Statement on the Democrats’ Latest State Bailout Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House today has been called back into a rare August session to consider a $26 billion bailout to state governments to offset state costs for education and Medicaid. If approved, the legislation will mark the third year in a row that the federal government would prop up programs that should be the responsibility of state and local governments, and would perpetuate the cycle of unstable and unbalanced state budgets.
House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis opposed the bill today, stating that it will cause even worse fiscal problems for local communities by spurring drastic budget shortfalls once the federal funds run out, encouraging instability in state budgets, and moving the country even further into the red.
The full statement by Lewis follows:
“Mr. Speaker, states across America have as their No. 1 responsibility the education of our young. If the states cannot allocate their own spending in order to carry out their top responsibility, we will never solve the problem with a bailout by Uncle Sam.
“A multi-billion dollar bailout today will set the stage for nationalized education tomorrow. That will surely push our economy over the cliff of bankruptcy.
“Why are we here talking to each other? We should be meeting with our constituents, holding town hall meetings, and listening to what’s on the hearts and minds of voters. The folks in my district have made their concerns very clear: “Jerry, tell those big-spending politicians in Washington to stop spending our money.”
“But the Democrat majority is so addicted to spending that they have called Congress back just to vote on yet another multi-billion dollar bailout.
“I’m left scratching my head, because in the past few months this Congress has done virtually none of the work that voters have sent us here to do. We haven’t passed a budget. We haven’t funded defense or homeland security. We made our troops wait months before passing funds to support their fight against international terrorists.
“The Democrat leadership calls the bill before us – designed to save government jobs - a major accomplishment. They hope it will please teachers’ unions and inspire the Democratic base two months before the November elections.
“I believe most voters will see it for what it is: Further evidence that this Congress has a spending problem. To the voters, the 111th Congress will go down in history as the “Bailout Congress.” This Congress has already sent nearly $75 billion in “stimulus” dollars to help states with education. That was supposed to be a one-time, temporary bailout approved in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.
“I am very proud of the fact that 3 of my 4 children are teachers. They work very hard to provide quality education in the classroom. They know that schools should be run by parents, teachers, and local communities. The more we approve these bailouts, the more the federal government takes over that role.
“Mr. Speaker, I know that my Democrat colleagues say that this legislation is “fully paid for.” However, the bill spends the entire $26 billion in just two years, while the “offsets” take place over 10 years.
“The “offsets” in the legislation are produced by almost $10 billion in tax increases and $13.4 billion in reductions in two programs that are popular with Democrat leaders – the food stamp program and renewable energy projects. Some Democrat leaders have already pledged to restore funding to these programs. Some of these “cuts” could be eliminated as soon as November in a “lame duck” session.
“Mr. Speaker, I want to emphasize this again to my colleagues: the voters DO NOT want us to throw more money at our nation’s problems. Yet that is exactly what this bill does.
“It’s time to put Uncle Sam on a diet and put an end to the congressional spending spree. I urge a “no” vote on this legislation.”