Sen. Inhofe: Stimulus Bill a 'Big Buyoff'

Friday, 30 Jan 2009 10:31 PM

By Rick Pedraza

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Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., says the nearly trillion-dollar stimulus package the House of Representatives is heaping on Americans is nothing more than a huge spending bill with projects in it for people the Democratic-led Congress wants to buy off.

Inhofe, who says the bill will do nothing to stimulate the economy, also tells Newsmax TV that the superfluous bill will provide tax refunds to people who don't pay any taxes, and would even give government checks of up to $1,000 to illegal aliens.

“You have a stimulus bill that's supposed to stimulate the economy,” Inhofe explains. “We know how to do that. We did it under John Kennedy; we did it under Ronald Reagan. We know what it does and what you have to do for capital gains and for all these things to open up the economy. But this [stimulus package] doesn't do any of that. There’s so many things in there that are just bad.”

[Editor's Note: Watch Sen. James Inhofe discuss the stimulus “buyoff” - See It Here]

Inhofe notes that a lot of the pork lies in projects that have nothing to do with stimulating the U.S. economy, including:

  • $30 billion on federal government building improvements

  • $1.5 billion for homelessness prevention

  • $650 million for digital TV coupons

  • $650 million for wildlife management

  • $600 million for the federal government to buy new green cars

  • $570 million for climate change

  • $75 million for smoking cessation activities

    “The only tax decreases they have here are refundable tax credits,” Inhofe explains. “And that's really just giving refunds to people who don't pay taxes. That has nothing to do with stimulating the economy.”

    One of Inhofe’s biggest objections to the $880 billion bill is that there is only $30 billion that goes toward some of what he believes are the real problems that should be addressed, such as roads and highways.

    Inhofe says he personally met with President Barack Obama Monday to point out that the $30 billion earmarked for infrastructure represents only 3 percent of the total amount of the spending bill.

    “When I told him that, he didn't believe it was that small a percentage,” Inhofe says. ”I said, ‘If we find that I'm right and you're wrong, would you go up to 10 percent?’ And he said, ‘I'd certainly look at that.’ Since then, he realizes that I am right. As far as roads and highways, it's $30 billion, and then a few [dollars] for water infrastructure.”

    Inhofe believes it is the infrastructure improvements that could provide real jobs, while spurring the economy.

    “We have over $1 billion worth of projects in America right now that are going to have to be done,” Inhofe points out. “Roads, bridges and that kind of thing; the type of thing government is supposed to be doing. We are going to do it, but this would allow them to do it earlier and use up some of that money they're throwing away.”

    Inhofe also weighed in on Obama’s decision earlier this week to close the detention center on Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, saying it is “a very dangerous and foolish idea,” and that he and several other lawmakers haven't given up the fight to keep it open.

    Inhofe is leading a delegation to Guantanamo Bay, which he visited right after 9/11, to try to change the public’s perception about the facility.

    “When they were accusing them of using interrogation methods that were not proper, I found that not to be true, but the perception is out there,” Inhofe says.

    “First of all, this has been a real resource we've been able to use for a long time, and there's no place else we can put people like this,” Inhofe says about the detainees housed at Gitmo for alleged terrorist activities.

    “If we were to close this thing down, we have people down there right now like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, along with his top four co-conspirators, and they're in the judicial process right now, which President Obama has said you must stop,” Inhofe says.

    “What happens if they close it? We have to do something with these people. We have 120 hardcore terrorists that their countries of origin don't want back. There's no place that will take them. If we close Guantanamo, they've identified some 17 army installations around America where they could go, one of which happens to be in my state of Oklahoma.

    “This is something that is totally unacceptable.”

    Inhofe will be taking four colleagues with him to Cuba early next month, including Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., who is from Cuba and serves on the Armed Services Committee with Inhofe.

    The purpose of the trip is to assess "the situation down there” in order “to tell America that we've got to keep this resource open. This is a great resource for us that can't be replaced anywhere else.”

    [Editor's Note: Watch Sen. James Inhofe discuss the stimulus “buyoff” - See It Here]

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