America in for high costs

Published 3:40 am Monday, February 2, 2009

By Staff
Last week, the House passed H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a plan that will cost Americans upwards of $1 trillion.
While all of us agree that our economy - and our country - are facing unpre- cedented challenges, this bill is loaded with billions of dollars in projects that have nothing to do with stimulating our economy or putting people back to work.
In fact, this bill will cost each individual resident of Alabama's First District over $2,700 - that's $1.8 billion just for the District.
I was extremely disappointed that Speaker Pelosi and the House Democratic leaders failed to follow the leadership of President Obama and work to get a bipartisan consensus in Congress to support the stimulus.
President Obama asked Congress for an economic stimulus plan that would provide tax relief to families while investing in infrastructure, health Informa-tion Technology, and alternative energy.
Yet, the plan advanced in Congress by Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic leadership included billions of dollars in spending unrelated to infrastructure, health IT, or alternative energy.
Many House Republicans would have supported something more targeted at creating jobs and not so filled with the lard and backlog of big government programs and wasteful spending.
Sadly, the Democratic House leadership insisted certain projects be included, projects that have nothing to do with stimulating the economy.
For instance, this bill calls for the American people to spend $600 million to buy new cars for government workers - even though the government already has a fleet of about 642,000 trucks, passenger cars, and other vehicles.
Yet another provision called for $150 million for repairs to Smithsonian Institution facilities, the same institution that recently spent $31,000 for designer Berkeley striped upholstery, $2,535 to clean a chandelier, and $4,000 for a heater for the lap pool of its most recent director.
Additionally, the Demo-cratic majority called for the taxpayers to spend $462 million for equipment and renovation of facilities at the Centers for Disease Control, an agency that could not locate $22 million worth of its equipment in 2007.
While some of the spending may be worthwhile, it does not belong in an economic stimulus package.
The American people are hurting, and our economy needs immediate help. We cannot borrow and spend our way out of a recession.
President Obama came to the U.S. Capitol last week to meet with House Repub-licans to try and find common ground. Democratic leadership ignored his call and forced another waste-laden bill through Congress
Jo Bonner is a member of the house of representatives.

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