The House Republicans’ unanimous vote against President’s Obama’s $819 billion economic stimulus bill shows that GOP leaders have learned their lesson: They cannot win by abandoning their principles.
The Obama plan is a hodgepodge of spending measures and payments to those who do not pay taxes that will do little to stimulate the economy.
The bill would provide $650 million to allow people to upgrade to digital TV sets, $600 million for new vehicles for the federal government, and $6 billion for colleges, most of which have hefty endowments. In all, the plan establishes 32 new government programs at a cost of $136 billion.
The legislation could give billions of dollars to left-wing groups like the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which played a role in the housing meltdown and is under FBI investigation.
Although the legislation is billed as an investment in transportation and infrastructure, only $30 billion — or 3 percent — would go for spending on roads and highways. When interest on debt is considered, the total actual cost will be $1.2 trillion.
Only about 25 percent of the money will actually be spent in 2009, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Obama wanted to win bipartisan support, and he made impressive efforts by meeting three times with Republicans on the Hill and inviting them to a cocktail party at the White House. Vice President Joe Biden lobbied his former colleagues on both sides of the Hill. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gave his cell phone number and e-mail address to key Republicans. Obama listened and was respectful of the views of the other side, backing down on including a measure to spend more than $300 million to buy contraceptives and take other steps to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
But House Republicans decided the president wanted their support so they will all share the blame if the bill fails to accomplish its purpose. That is exactly what Republicans believe will happen, and they want no part of it.
“If it fails, they want Republican fingerprints on it as well,” Dave Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, tells Newsmax. “If you’re conservative, you know it’s going to boomerang on Democrats because the public is going to see that it’s not going to work. The government spending approach never has worked. And when it doesn’t work, the public is going to come back and support us. If you believe it will work, you’re not a conservative and you shouldn’t be a Republican. It’s that simple.”
Republican defeats during the past two elections have prompted them to say they must return to their core principles. That means cutting government spending and reducing taxes so that individuals, rather than the government, can decide how to spend their own money. That creates jobs by allowing Americans to start or expand their own businesses and to buy goods that in turn spur job growth.
As an alternative to the Obama plan, House Republicans proposed legislation that would cut income taxes to individuals and small businesses.
“The administration bill can’t be supported because it won’t work,” Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the caucus of House conservatives, tells Newsmax. “It’ll deepen the economic challenges that we have and, I believe, prolong the economic challenges that we have. If borrowing and spending would have gotten us out of this challenge, we would’ve been out of it long ago.”
By opposing the Obama plan, Republicans are adhering to “fundamental American principles that have allowed this nation to become the greatest nation in the history of mankind,” Price says. “If we embrace those core principles, we’ll come out of this ahead.”
In short, Republicans are not buying into a plan that conflicts with what they stand for and that they believe will be a disaster.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
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