Whitfield: 'Wasteful Washington Spending Not the Stimulus We Need'
Citing concerns over expanding the size and scope of the federal government while sending the national debt skyrocketing, U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield (KY-01) voted against the $792 billion stimulus bill agreed to by House and Senate negotiators this week.
"I know Kentuckians are hurting. Family budgets are getting tighter and tighter, workers live in fear of losing their jobs, and Americans have become disheartened with the way our country continues to do business," Whitfield said. "However, hastily considered legislation full of wasteful Washington spending but short on meaningful tax cuts is not the answer to our problems. Congress needs to go back to the drawing board and craft a stimulus package which incorporates the very best ideas from both sides of the aisle without burying future generations under a mountain of debt."
Whitfield voted against the conference report to H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Congressman opposed this initial legislation when it was passed by the House of Representatives last month. The package considered today represents a compromise between the House and Senate versions of the stimulus bill, known as a conference report.
Whitfield opposed the stimulus package considered today for many of the same reasons he opposed the initial legislation. The bill still includes billions of dollars of spending not relevant to stimulating the economy and creating jobs. In addition, much of the funding included in the bill will not be spent for years to come. Instead of tax cuts, the legislation relies heavily on slow government spending initiatives, which many economists say will fail to stimulate the economy immediately, when Americans need it the most.
While the package would cost taxpayers more than $1 trillion, individuals would only receive a tax credit which would result in a $13 per week increase in their paycheck this year. Tax relief, which most economists agree is the most effective way to stimulate the economy and create jobs, only accounts for 26% of the spending in the package.
Whitfield also expressed concern over how much the stimulus package would permanently expand the size and reach of the federal government. A total of 106 federal government programs will be created or expanded at a cost of $188 billion. If this new level of spending is carried forward into future years, non-defense spending would continue to grow by at least 42% annually.
Whitfield has supported an alternative stimulus package which would create almost twice as many jobs while reducing taxes for the long term. The proposal Whitfield supports would reduce the lowest individual tax rates, allowing every taxpaying-family in America to see an immediate increase in their income. The legislation would also allow small business to take a tax deduction equal to 20% of their income. This would immediately free up funds for small businesses to retain and hire new employees.
"While I am disappointed in this final version of the stimulus package, I join all Americans in hoping that it will help get our economy back on track," Whitfield said. "Our country faces a serious situation, and it is my sincere hope that President Obama and the Congress will be able to work together in a bipartisan manner to improve our economy and get Americans back to work."