By a vote of 246 to 183 Friday, the House of Representatives approved the $789 billion economic stimulus package. Rep. Tom Petri voted against the bill, and made the following comments:
"I hope the emergency stimulus legislation works, and that it helps the economy move forward, but I voted against the bill because I feel it simply was not focused enough on short-term stimulation to keep our economy from falling further and to bring it back.
"Most of the bill was basically topping up a variety of government programs, and that can cause problems down the road because we will be adding to the deficit and having to make cutbacks in the future, or figuring out ways of financing these programs long-term.
"I favor an even larger, focused short-term stimulus bill. I called for us doing more in the area of transportation, infrastructure and other public works. And I certainly think we need to be moving in a much more focused and aggressive way to get the financial system flowing again because until that happens, much of the economy will be on life support.
"This bill did nothing about the central problem, which is to get the financial system flowing again. It did focus on growing a lot of government programs and did not really do nearly as much as it could have done to create short-term jobs both in the public and in the private sector through tax incentives."