Lewis Slams Democrats’ $23 Billion Bailout for State Governments – Pledges a “No” Vote if it is Included in Supplemental

Apr 12, 2011
Press Release

Lewis Slams Democrats’ $23 Billion Bailout for State Governments – Pledges a “No” Vote if it is Included in Supplemental
Washington, D.C. – House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis today slammed a likely attempt by House and Senate Democrats to add a $23 billion bailout for state governments to an emergency war and disaster assistance funding bill.
Lewis noted that the Democrat majority has failed to produce a budget this year, and has punted responsibility for reducing the nation’s unprecedented debt and deficits to a fiscal commission that is not slated to make recommendations until after the November election. At the same time, Lewis said, the Democrats’ massive spending increases have done little to improve unemployment or bolster the struggling economy.
“After billions in bailouts and failed ‘stimulus’ programs, the Democrat majority and the Obama Administration are seeking to pile at least another $23 billion in deficit-financed bailouts onto the backs of American taxpayers,” Lewis said.
“Let me be very clear, if Democrat leaders insist on shoving this ill-advised funding through – especially on the backs of our troops in a critical war funding and disaster assistance bill – I will oppose this legislation and urge my Republican colleagues to do the same,” Lewis continued.
Lewis also noted that the “stimulus” bill already included hundreds of billions in bailouts for states. He pointed out that this spending has not been effective at stimulating the economy or creating jobs, and that these types of funds spur inevitable and damaging budget pitfalls for states once the money has been spent.
“Continuing to bail out state governments and perpetuating unbalanced state budgets is a recipe for disaster.  Adding another $23 billion might delay cutbacks for a short time, but it will greatly exacerbate the problem once the funding runs out, encourage instability in state budgets, and move our country even further into the red,” Lewis said. “We are broke, and federal and state governments need to live up to obligations and be responsible with taxpayer money – and that means making difficult decisions when times are tough.”
While supporters of this provision – including Obama Administration officials – claim that the funding will save teachers’ jobs, Lewis indicated there is no guarantee that this funding will be used for education, and loopholes could allow state governments to spend where they please by simply shifting money around.  In addition, even if the funding was indeed used for education, Lewis noted that it would be a dangerous precedent to expand the role of the federal government in local schools.
“From health care to home mortgages to cable TV, the Democrat majority has continually pushed for more government involvement in nearly every aspect of American life. School funding decisions are best made by parents, teachers, and local communities – not by the federal government or politicians and bureaucrats in Washington,” Lewis said.

112th Congress