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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Today in Washington D. C. - Feb 4, 2009 - Pork Loaded Stimulus Bill Debated

The Senate reconvened at 10:30 AM today and resumed consideration of the economic stimulus legislation (H.R. 1). Votes on amendments will continue today. Senate Democrats are on retreat today and are expected to return around 4:30 PM. Votes are scheduled for this evening.

Yesterday, the Senate Democrats failed to get the votes needed to pass their amendment to increase transportation spending in the bill by $25 billion. The Senate voted 52-45 to adopt an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) to cut $250 million in tax breaks for Hollywood movie producers from the package.

Senators also approved an amendment from Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) to create a tax deduction for interest on car loans but rejected an amendment from Sens. John Ensign (R-NV) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to reduce the tax rate on corporate earnings repatriated from overseas over two years.

The first amendments to the Democrats’ massive economic stimulus bill were offered in the Senate yesterday, and an interesting pattern emerged. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell noted it in a speech on the Senate floor this morning:
“According to the news reports, President Obama called Congressional Democrats down to the White House the other night to talk about treating this bill more like a stimulus and less like a free for all. . . . [But t]he day after meeting with President Obama, Democrats offered several amendments — and every single one of them ADDED to the total cost of what is already nearly a trillion-dollar spending bill. . . . By the end of the first day of debate, Democrats had added more than $41 billion to a bill that just about everybody else in America thought was already too big.”
The headline in today’s New York Times tells the tale: “Additions by Senate Push Stimulus Near $1 Trillion.” Of course, that doesn’t take into account the hundreds of billions in interest payments taxpayers will face if this bill passes.

Yet the spending in the stimulus bill may grow even more. The Wall Street Journal reports today on a report from mayors across the country that is being used as a “wish list for funding from the stimulus bill moving through Congress.” Among the suggestions in the report is $2 million for neon signs in Las Vegas, $886,000 for a frisbee golf course in Austin, Texas, $500,000 for a dog park in Chula Vista, California, and $1.1 million for a skateboard ramp and “splash-park installations” in San Bernadino, California.

Hearing these ideas on top of the wasteful spending that’s actually in the bill, like $25 million for ATV trails and $20 million to remove fish barriers, it’s no wonder that Americans have become ever more skeptical of the stimulus package Democrats have put together. Rasmussen has a poll out today showing that support for the bill has dropped to 37% from 45% two weeks ago. Just yesterday a Gallup poll showed a majority of Americans want to see major changes in the bill or would like it rejected outright. The Los Angeles Times points to the Gallup poll as evidence that Obama has suffered “a significant reversal of fortune” in this debate and notes that “[a] surprisingly unified GOP has taken control of the debate -- and embarrassed Democrats -- by highlighting controversial expenditures in the $819-billion bill passed last week by the Democratic-led House . . . .” Politico agrees, writing today that Republicans have “won the war of words over the economic plan now being debated in the Senate — a victory that has significantly undercut the president’s chances of achieving bipartisan support for the bill he envisioned.”

Senate Republicans are working to use this momentum to oppose the wasteful spending in this bill. Republicans were successful yesterday in passing an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) to strip a tax break for Hollywood movie producers that would have cost nearly $250 million over 11 years. Today, Republicans are backing an amendment by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) to cut $47.6 billion in wasteful spending from the bill that is not focused on creating jobs.

Senate Republicans Have Put Forward Alternative Stimulus Plan! Also, Senator McCain (R-AZ) has sponsored a petition protesting the current version of the stimulus bill: You can help by Voting No On The Stimulus Package Petition
Tags: Congressional Pork, economic plan, economic stimulus, Pork Barrel, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 2:00 PM - Post Link


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