Letter to Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer - House Majority Leadership
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer:
We are writing as leaders of the Blue Dog Coalition to urge a redoubled effort to streamline the stimulus and recovery package to achieve the goals of stimulating and strengthening the economy on the fastest feasible timeline and ensuring that taxpayer funds are safeguarded from fraud, waste and abuse.
While a number of Blue Dogs voted against the package considered in the House, many of those who did support it did so with serious reservations and the conviction that the package should and would be improved through Senate consideration, and, ultimately, through negotiations between the chambers of Congress, together with President Obama.
To be sure, the House package contained a number of sound provisions that will provide a real stimulative boost and strengthen our nation's economy - such as transportation and infrastructure spending and tax relief for individuals and businesses of all types. However, a number of other provisions were included that, while in and of themselves may be worthy of consideration in the regular order of business, were not properly included as part of an emergency spending package, with the nation facing what could be the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.
That is why, as leaders of the Blue Dog Coalition, we worked before the House vote to target and remove spending in the bill that does not have the kind of stimulative, or long-term job creation potential, that is needed. We achieved some modest success, in the removal of hundreds of million of dollars, before the House vote, that we believe was either insufficiently stimulative or unrelated to long-term economic growth. We believe this spending is more properly addressed during the course of the normal appropriations process, which imposes tough budget choices and is critical to Congress' efforts to keep to a fiscally responsible path.
Now that the Senate is debating its stimulus and recovery package, reports indicate certain senators, including Senator Nelson of Nebraska and Senator Collins of Maine, are engaged in a bipartisan effort to pare further spending. We believe that's a highly worthwhile goal, and that there are additional provisions that would be better left for consideration in regular order.
We look forward to working with you to achieve that goal and ensure that any final stimulus and recovery package is properly focused to achieve the results the American people expect and deserve.
Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Blue Dog Co-Chair for Administration
Rep. Baron Hill, Blue Dog Co-Chair for Policy
Rep. Charlie Melancon, Blue Dog Co-Chair for Communications
Rep. Heath Shuler, Blue Dog Whip
Rep. Allen Boyd
Rep. Dennis Cardoza
Rep. Jim Matheson
Rep. John Tanner