Whitfield Votes Against Non-Stimulus, "Stimulus Bill"
U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield (KY-01) voted today to protect Kentucky taxpayers from wasteful Washington spending, opposing an $825 billion "stimulus" bill filled with billions of dollars for special interest projects that would fail to create new jobs or stimulate the economy.
"When Congress approves this much spending without adequate deliberation, we risk wasting hard earned taxpayer money and render proper oversight nearly impossible - as was demonstrated by the careless manner in which the bank bailout funds were spent," Whitfield said. "Before enacting the largest spending bill in our nation's history, we need to carefully examine all of our options and put together a plan that will keep Americans working, create new jobs and provide long-term incentives for businesses to grow. I fear the legislation passed today would fail to accomplish this goal and, instead, needlessly saddle future generations with enormous debt for spending that has little to do with creating or saving jobs."
Whitfield voted against H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The bill includes billions of dollars of spending not relevant to stimulating the economy and creating jobs, such as money to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program to allow adults to enroll and opens the door for illegal immigrants to receive benefits. During an economic recession, Whitfield voiced concern and disappointment over federal spending on such projects that will fail to stimulate the economy and instead drive up the nation's already soaring deficit.
The vast majority of the funds allocated in the stimulus package are not used to create new jobs. It is estimated that only 7 cents of every dollar spent would go toward creating jobs. What's worse, of the $825 billion authorized in the legislation, only about ten percent would be used for transportation infrastructure projects, with only a fraction likely directed to the First Congressional District. Whitfield voiced further concern over the fact that much of the spending in the bill was not sufficiently directed toward projects that could put people to work immediately.
While American families are hurting now from the economic recession, the bulk of the funding included in this stimulus bill will not be spent for years to come. In fact, only 15 percent of the money allocated will be spent this year. Only 37 percent of the spending would occur next year, which means that only half of the plan's spending will occur in the next two years when American workers need it the most.
On Monday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its review of the spending in the economic stimulus legislation considered today. This review stated that the legislation would not stimulate the economy now, primarily because the plan relies too heavily on slow government spending initiatives instead of tax cuts. The CBO confirmed that tax cuts impact families and the economy twice as fast as government spending. While the measure includes a number of tax cuts, many of these provisions expire after two years and only about 36 percent of the tax cuts will benefit taxpayers this year.
Furthermore, this massive spending bill was brought to the House for a vote with only limited hearings and review at the committee level. Consequently, Representatives were allowed very little time to review the 647 page bill before consideration in Committee, and three of the five amendments to the bill adopted during the Energy and Commerce Committee markup were not included in the final version of the legislation.
Whitfield voted for an alternative stimulus package today which would reduce taxes for the long term while creating an estimated 6.2 million jobs over the next two years. The Congressman has long advocated the need to cut taxes in order to stimulate the economy and provide citizens with incentives to invest and spend.
"While I am disappointed that the House of Representatives failed to consider a bill today which would help revitalize our economy and get people back to work quickly, I am hopeful that as the legislative process continues we will be able to craft a compromise proposal that can receive bipartisan support," Whitfield said. "While the American people continue to struggle to make ends meet, I recognize that Congress must take action to get our economy back on track. I remain committed to doing just that."