REP. YOUNG BELIEVES WE CAN DO BETTER, VOTES NO ON MASSIVE SPENDING BILL
Alaskan Congressman Don Young voted no this evening on H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. H.R. 1 includes funding for such questionable items such as $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, $600 million to purchase new cars for government workers, and $3 billion to fund Prevention & Wellness Programs, including $335 million for STD Education and Prevention.
"Originally I had been in favor of a bill that would put money into our economy by creating new jobs and infrastructure projects," said Rep. Young. "However, despite calls for increased infrastructure spending for the creation of jobs, a relatively small share of the package is devoted to transportation infrastructure; highway construction only accounts for 3.6% of the overall bill. Written without bipartisan cooperation, this bill has grown exponentially from what was originally proposed, and includes $137 billion in new government programs. The total cost of H.R. 1 has reached $819 billion!
"We are now appropriating on what is supposed to be stimulus legislation. We have Appropriations bills for project funding. I have never been shy about seeking projects in those bills for my constituents, but we have specific vehicles for that and this bill is not it. Next week, we will be voting on the remainder of the regular spending bills for 2009. How can we vote today to allocate billions more when we don't even know how much we will spend on these programs in the regular spending process for 2009?
"I did vote for the Motion to Recommit, which I believe is a true economic stimulus package. It will provide an additional $24.2 billion for the Corps of Engineers and $36 billion for highways, AND reduce the total cost of the bill by $103 billion. The best answer, however, is for the two parties to compromise and form a bill that will aid our country, not aid our respective politics. I hope that when this bill comes back to the House for final passage it reflects the bipartisan spirit that is needed to get this country back on track."