America is in the middle of a serious recession that is hurting working families and small businesses. Now, more than ever before, we need to work across party lines to put our country back on a path toward economic growth.
When the new Congress convened in January, the House Democratic leadership pledged to change the way Washington works. There was to be a renewed spirit of bipartisan cooperation. Regretfully, this vow of a new Washington has quickly lapsed to the one of old, particularly as we worked to pass the economic stimulus legislation.
As the economic stimulus package was drafted, President Obama sat down to discuss with Republicans our plans for economic recovery. I commend the President for his willingness to listen to our views. Unfortunately, the House Democratic leadership took a different path - a path back toward the old way of governing.
Rather than listening to ideas from all sides, the Democratic leadership crafted a purely partisan bill in a backroom deal that included a staggering amount of wasteful spending with no immediate ways to stimulate the economy. As a new Member of Congress, I had hoped that the promise of a new Washington would become a reality, but instead it is still a fantasy.
And then, to build an even greater partisan divide, Democratic campaign groups from far outside of Kentucky attacked my record and distorted the truth. I deeply regret that the Democratic leadership used this opportunity for political gain as so many Kentucky families are struggling to make ends meet. Now is not the time for partisan politics, but the time for sensible solutions.
Despite what you may hear from other sources, the legislation that passed the U.S. House on February 13, 2009 will place the largest burden in our nation's history on our children and grandchildren's generations. I came to Washington to change Congress. Adding billions of dollars of pet projects to this stimulus bill is not change.
My vote was not a "no" to an economic stimulus, but a vote that there is a better solution. That is why I supported the alternative plan that would provide a direct boost to our economy through immediate tax relief for working families and small businesses. It was a simple and responsible solution that provided real tax cuts for working families. Under the alternative plan, a married couple filing jointly could save up to $3,200 a year in taxes. As a former small businessman, I know that allowing taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned money is the best way to stimulate our economy.
It is my honor to serve you in Congress. I look forward to updating you regularly in the coming months with this column. In the meantime, if you would like to stay connected to my office with updates on the latest news, legislation, and other useful information, please sign up for my e-mail newsletter on my website, http://guthrie.house.gov.