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American Recovery And Reinvestment Act Of 2009 - Conference Report

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I enjoyed listening to my colleague from New York, as I always do. I was very interested in Senator Schumer saying that they have met us halfway. The first two bills out of this administration have been the C.H.I.P. bill--that was completely put together by Democrats without any input at all from Republicans and especially from people like me who wrote the original CHIP bill. The second bill was a stimulus package that was put together with no real impetus and no real help from the Republicans or any of us from this side. If you watched the process, it was basically we were told: Take it or leave it. When it finally passed by a narrow vote on this floor, by really 1, it immediately went into a conference where basically Republican ideas were not really considered. We were left out of negotiating this bill.

I cannot help but paraphrase one of the leaders of the White House who said: We Democrats love crises. Why? Because then we can pass legislation we would never otherwise get through the Congress of the United States or through the elected representatives of the people in the two bodies in the Congress.

I am outraged by the amount of government expansion that is contained in this bill. The Majority Democrats have seized this opportunity to put all kinds of programs in here that are not stimulus, some of which may be very valid in the regular appropriations process, but many of which are not stimulus, and are eating funds that should be going to help pull us out of these difficult times. The legislation clearly states that the funds appropriated in this bill should be for emergency uses, yet there is plenty in this legislation that is not imminent.

I have to say that when my friend from New York, Senator Schumer, talks about tax relief they put in this bill, it is not true tax relief. When you start calling it a ``Make Work Pay'' tax credit, where they give refundable tax credits to people who do not pay income taxes, that is not a tax cut. It is not even tax relief. It is a cost to everybody else who works and pays income taxes, and it is not going to produce any jobs.

Now, I am not against helping those who do not pay income taxes. I am not against helping people who are out of work. But, let's call it what it is--spending. And let us not put this in a stimulus bill, which is supposed to be effective immediately. Those provisions will not be effective for 2 or 3 years from now.

I have been in the Congress 33 years this year. There has not been one day in my 33 years in the Senate where the fiscal conservatives point of view has been in the majority, not one day. We have won some battles because of great Presidential leadership or just plain gutsy leadership by the conservative Republicans, fiscal conservative Republicans. But, the Congress has been run by the more liberal left Democrats and a few Republicans who will side with them on these issues. This has created too much spending.

One of the Senators on the floor yesterday said, how can we take advice from people who ran us into bankruptcy over the last 8 years?

Well, Congress has exceeded the President's budget 20 times in the past 28 years. And it has always been because of the liberal left along with a few liberal Republicans to make a majority in the Senate.

Since President Reagan, Congress has exceeded the President's budget every year except the years when President Clinton was in the White House. Now, why did we match President Clinton's budget when he was in the White House? It was the first time you had a Republican Congress, and a President who agreed to a lower budget.

Today, the government spending as a percentage of gross domestic product is moving towards 40 percent. That is government spending as a percentage of GDP that is more in line with Europe. 40 to 50 percent spending of GDP is where Europe is. We are going through the ``Europeanization'' of the United States of America.

We have always had to give in to the left, because they have always been too many liberal people and a few Republicans who support liberal spending. This has led to threats to our principles of freedom, self-reliance, and market-driven prosperity.

An example is how our government is taking over the financial sector. Why are managers and shareholders of failed financial institutions not first in line to bear the consequences of their mistaken actions? Why are we not following the principles of a free market society?

The economy has been stronger than the Democrats have been portraying it during those Republican years and during the Bush years, in particular. Democrats keep blaming the current economic decline on the failed economic policies of the past 8 years. But the economy grew each year over the past 8 years. We have only seen a decline in GDP over the past 6 months under which both Houses being controlled by Democrats. Do not miss the point. Over all of these years, we have had a liberal control of spending in the Congress, and you cannot blame President George W. Bush for that. He could have vetoed more, I have got to admit that, but the spending came from the left.

We are headed toward Government spending being 40 to 50 percent of our gross domestic product. And since the bailouts started last year, we have only added nearly $2 trillion to our national debt. That did not happen when Republicans were in control of the Congress. The financial rescue package with $700 billion and more for AIG and other banks, we are beginning to wonder when the spending will end.

I was amazed that in the last election, the Democrats, who had voted for the financial rescue legislation, went out and chewed up a few Republicans who also voted for that legislation. Even though most of the Democrats voted for it, they chewed Republicans up for voting for it and defeated them at the polls--talk about hypocrisy.

We have seen very little success for our money, but even worse, we have used it to save management and shareholders of big banks, even as homeowners were forced into default and Main Street businesses faced bankruptcy. Now we have a stimulus package of $787 billion.

While there is bipartisan concern over the economy, this is a partisan plan. This stimulus bill will explode the size of Government. Why? Because the more you explode it, the more you get people dependent upon the almighty Federal Government. The liberals who have been running us into bankruptcy over all of these years will put us even more into debt.

I think conservatives need to be more alert. If these provisions are made permanent, and there will be a massive attempt to make these permanent, the expansion of Government is going to be enormous. I do not know what you call it other than socialism.

Do not get me wrong. I am for a stimulus bill that would work, that would help homeowners, that would strengthen research and development, that would cut corporate and small business tax rates so that they can employ more people, that would move farther and farther toward creating jobs. That would be effective.

However, this bill does not do that. I hope our colleagues will vote against it. We have to stand up on something, and this is a bill we should stand up on.

I yield the floor.

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