Stimulus Conference Report – Air-drops, Adds, and Alterations

Apr 12, 2011
Press Release

Stimulus Conference Report – Air-drops, Adds, and Alterations


No one save for a few Democrat leaders and staff has seen the full text of the stimulus legislation, and reports indicate that some of it is still being written. At some point, Members of Congress will be asked to vote on this legislation with very little time to view or research its contents – likely less than an hour or two.

The little information gleaned from the Majority regarding this conference report has uncovered several controversial provisions tucked into the language that differ from either the House or Senate bills. These items contain egregious non-stimulative spending, represent massive policy shifts, or have been “air-dropped” (added in secret conference negotiations without being included in either the House or Senate bill).

As the full text of the legislation is not yet available, this is not a comprehensive list.

“Air-Dropped” Provisions

Amtrak Security – The conference report contains $450 million for Amtrak Security grants through the Department of Transportation (DOT). This funding was not included in either the House or Senate bills, and duplicates a program that already exists in the Department of Homeland Security.

Agency “Slush Funds” (Transfer Authority) – This provision recreates the “slush fund” that was unanimously rejected by both the House and Senate.  This “slush fund” allows agency heads to move money around between programs as they see fit without any real oversight by Congress or the public.

Spending Adds and Changes

High Speed Rail – The conference report contains $8 billion for high speed rail. The Senate included $2 billion for this programs and House did not include anything. The spending will go to at least two rail projects – one from LA to Las Vegas, and one in the mid-west including Wisconsin and Illinois.

Military Construction/Veterans Funding – The conference report cuts Veterans and Military Construction spending by over $3 billion below the House and Senate bills. The cuts include construction projects, hospital renovations, facility repairs, and energy-efficiency improvements.

NEA - The conference report contains $50 million for the NEA. Somehow, despite the public criticism, Democrat leaders have decided that this is “stimulative” spending and have included it in the report.

Policy Shifts and Alterations

E-Verify –Language to reauthorize the E-Verify program and ensure that stimulus funds benefit legal American workers was unanimously adopted in the Appropriations Committee and agreed to on the House Floor. This language was completely removed from the conference report.

Comparative Effectiveness – This pre-curser to universal health care was included in the conference report to the tune of $1.1 billion. This program compares various medical treatments to determine which are most cost-effective, in order for the government to save money in the future by rationing care in a government-run healthcare system.

National Surface Transportation System Grants – The report includes $1.5 billion for a brand new program within DOT to be distributed to selected states at the agency’s discretion. However, the existing highway formula program which serves all 50 states can more effectively and efficiently distribute stimulus funds.

“Timely Awards of Grants” - Despite previous Democrat rhetoric that this unprecedented “stimulus” spending would be spent quickly, the conference agreement drops provisions requiring all funds in the bill to be awarded within 30 to 120 days of enactment. Instead, the report allows numerous programs to have three years or more to actually begin spending the funding. 















112th Congress