DeMint Opposes Trillion Dollar Spending Bill

Press Release

By:  James DeMint
Date: Feb. 13, 2009
Location: Washington, DC


DeMint Opposes Trillion Dollar Spending Bill

Bill won't solve economic problems, but will dramatically grow government, reverse 1996 welfare reforms, expand government control of health care

Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) made the following statement after voting against the Democrats' trillion dollar spending bill. As more economists are admitting, this spending bill won't create the jobs necessary to turn the economy around, but it does contain major changes in the law that could reverse 1996 welfare reforms and expand government control of health care. Senator DeMint offered an alternative stimulus, the American Option, which would create 18 million jobs over the next ten years and permanently lower taxes for every American taxpayer.

"This is a three trillion dollar mistake that our economy cannot afford at this critical time," said Senator DeMint. "Democrats promise it will work, but they don't even know what's in it because no one has had time to read the 1,074 page monstrosity. Not even the President has read this bill, yet he's rushing to sign it to prove he's ‘done something' even if it's the wrong thing. If government spending created jobs and prosperity, we'd have the best economy in our history right now. But government-controlled economies have never worked and never will, as we learned painfully in the Great Depression and Japan proved in their lost decade."

The bill raises the national debt limit to more than $12 trillion, and Congressional Budget Office recently estimated the bill could cost taxpayers over $3.2 trillion over the next ten years if many of the programs do not end after 2010.

"There is no free lunch, and every one of the trillion dollars we spend in this bill will be paid by our children and grandchildren," said Senator DeMint. "The skyrocketing debt that will follow this spending bill and the new bailouts will lead to inflation, higher interest rates and higher taxes."

"This bill reverses historic welfare reforms that gave independence and hope to millions. It contains religious discrimination against students of faith that use public facilities on college campuses. The bill also contains over a billion dollars to fund research that is used for rationing medical treatments under universal health care. These are dramatic changes to current law and it should concern all Americans that an economic stimulus is being used to usher in a sweeping liberal agenda.

"The silver lining in this whole debate is that Americans are now finding out what the true stakes are in Washington: it's a battle between government control over our lives or the freedom that made America great. Freedom isn't an ideology - it works. Freedom is the only thing that has ever worked and I will continue fighting for it."

The trillion dollar spending bill is 1,074 pages long and:

• Increases National Debt Limit to $12.1 Trillion
• Reverses Welfare Reform: According to the Heritage Foundation, the stimulus "will overturn the fiscal foundation of welfare reform and restore an AFDC-style funding system. For the first time since 1996, the federal government would begin paying states bonuses to increase their welfare caseloads. Indeed, the new welfare system created by the stimulus bills is actually worse than the old AFDC program because it rewards the states more heavily to increase their caseloads."
• Increases Government Control Over Health Care: It includes $1.1 billion for "Comparative Effectiveness Research" that is the basis for rationing of medical treatments in nations with universal health care. The bill also provides over $86 billion in bailout funds to states claiming funding shortages in their Medicaid programs. The management of Medicaid programs is the responsibility of governors and state legislatures and the massive bailout prevents the necessary budget decisions on behalf of their state taxpayers.
• Contains Discrimination Against Students of Faith: The bill contains an unconstitutional prohibition against using funds to renovate buildings on college campuses that are used for "religious worship."
• Billions for Earmarks and Wasteful Government Programs: It includes billions for an earmark for high-speed train from Hollywood to Las Vegas requested by Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada), $300 million for "green cars" that include golf carts, $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, and much more.
• Only 3% ($27.5 billion) for Highway Construction: This is contrary to claims this bill would be focused on infrastructure.