Frelinghuysen Opposes Massive Economic Stimulus Plan
Calling it a missed opportunity to jump-start' the economy, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) today opposed the H.R. 1, the $791 billion stimulus package.
"People back home in New Jersey want Congress to do something to save their jobs, put people back to work, make up their lost savings, and restore confidence in our financial markets."
"Americans are asking for help, but today's bill does not do enough to create jobs or prevent layoffs. It is ineffective, inefficient, and not an intelligent way to use taxpayer dollars. Hiring 600,000 new government workers will not help families and small businesses survive. Quite the contrary, it will choke off what remains of our private enterprises."
The $791 billion stimulus package, all borrowed money, is sold as an infrastructure investment plan, but only $46 billion, or 6 percent, will go to shovel-ready' road, bridge, and tunnel projects. In addition, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has determined that less than half of the money can actually be spent in the next two years. And, the infrastructure will cost more because each project nationwide under the bill will be subject to the Davis-Bacon Act, meaning only union contractors need apply!
Sixty percent of the spending in H.R. 1 is non-stimulative. The bill was drafted behind closed doors by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Congressional Democrats. The package was created without public hearings, advice from expert witnesses, or input from minority members.
The stimulus includes:
* $53.6 billion for a State Stabilization Fund to bail out some states that have done little or nothing to control their own spending or debt;
* $5 billion for weatherization programs, 25 times the $200 million budgeted last year;
* $95 billion to create 33 new government programs;
* $8 billion for a High Speed Passenger Rail Program, including funding for travel between Los Angeles and Las Vegas in Senator Reid's state of Nevada;
* $5.5 billion for renovation of government buildings;
* $4 billion for broadband and wireless services;
* $1 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Fund, which includes funding for sexually transmitted disease education and prevention programs;
* $400 million for global warming research;
* $300 million for new cars for government workers;
* $142 million for the Coast Guard to alter or remove four bridges;
* $10 million for the inspection of canals in urban areas.
The House "stimulus" plan also undermines Welfare Reform's key "work requirement." Under current law, states must ensure at least half of adults on welfare are in work, education, training, job search, or other productive activities. The House bill directly weakens this work requirement, which will further increase the welfare rolls. The mechanics of this change are complicated, but the outcome is clear - to reduce or eliminate the current work requirement for recipients.
The final bill also stripped out a provision that required anyone receiving a contract paid for with funding from the bill to use the government's E-Verify program in order to ensure taxpayer money is not used to hire illegal workers. E-Verify is the only reliable tool for employers who want to do the right thing and hire only workers who are in the United States legally.
On January 28, Frelinghuysen supported an alternative plan eliminating over $150 billion in wasteful, non-emergency spending and redirecting some of that funding to verifiably shovel-ready' civil construction and bridge projects at the Army Corps of Engineers.