February 13, 2009
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, issued the following statement after voting against final passage of the largest spending bill to ever be considered before the United States Congress.
"From the outset I opposed this massive ‘stimulus' bill because I believed it lacked any real stimulus," Senator Inhofe said. "Through my leadership position on the Environment and Public Works Committee and Armed Services Committee, I know firsthand the link between infrastructure and defense spending, job creation and a robust economy. Despite my efforts to reach across the aisle to propose amendments to strip wasteful spending and replace it with legitimate job creating provisions, the Democratic majority clung to their chosen liberal priorities.
"This bill went into conference with 35% tax cuts and 65% spending. Amazingly, it's coming out of conference with fewer (27%) tax cuts and even more (73%) spending. For me, voting against the conference report on the so-called stimulus package was a simple matter of arithmetic. We have $1.1 trillion in new national debt that amounts to $10,000 per household. We have $800 billion in new government spending that amounts to $7,000 per household. And we have tax relief for individuals and families. The tax relief portion amounts to $8 dollars in additional take-home pay per week for the average American worker, or a little more than an extra $1 dollar per day. The so-called stimulus package is Democrat trickle-down economics. A lot of people have been scratching their heads, wondering why there wasn't more bipartisanship in crafting this bill. The answer is simple: The two parties have fundamentally different beliefs. One party believes your hard work is worth a little more than an extra $1 per day."
"No doubt, the massive spending spree underway in Washington will continue. Already we have witnessed unprecedented spending - even by Washington standards - over the past year as we have passed multi-billion dollar bailout and stimulus bills with little to show for it. Already there are still promises of more massive bailouts on the way. Sadly, the cost of all of this spending will be dumped into the laps of our children and grandchildren.
"As one of the most outspoken conservatives in Washington leading the fight against this runaway government spending, and one that has voted against every single massive government bailout bill, I am proud to see the almost unanimous opposition demonstrated by my Republican colleagues to this massive giveaway. This goes to show that the Republican Party is on its way back to the party of fiscal discipline."
Senator Inhofe introduced two amendments to increase the percentage of the bill to go toward infrastructure and defense. These two amendments would have created and saved approximately $4 Million jobs.
Senator Inhofe worked closely with Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and a bipartisan group of colleagues to offer an amendment to add $50 billion to highway, transit, and clean and safe drinking water programs, all without adding to the price tag of the bill. The amendment would have moved money from programs that are not stimulating the economy to ones that are ready to put people to work immediately. It would have taken any money that expires at the end of this fiscal year along with funds within the stimulus that are not obligated within 13 months of enactment, up to $50 billion. Further, the amendment would then have redirect those funds to highway, transit and water projects that are ready to have a contract awarded within 120 days of receiving this money. States, cities and counties across the country have provided more than $100 billion worth of ready-to-go highway projects that could be obligated in fewer than 180 days.
Senator Inhofe also introduced an amendment to increase the percentage of defense spending in the bill. Investing in our nation's defense provides thousands of sustainable American jobs and provides for our nation's security. Major defense procurement programs are all manufactured in the U.S.; our aerospace industry alone employs more than 655,000 workers spread across most of the country. The Inhofe amendment would have increased defense procurement spending by $5.2 billion to manufacture or acquire vehicles, equipment, ammunition and materials required to reconstitute military units. It would appropriate $5.2 billion, with a full offset within the bill, for procurement for the Department of Defense to reconstitute military units to an acceptable level of readiness. This funding would have procured aircraft, tracked and non-tracked combat vehicles, missiles, weapons, ammunition, communications equipment, maintenance equipment, naval boats and ships, salvage equipment, riverine equipment, expeditionary material handling equipment and other expeditionary items. It would also not increase the overall cost of the bill as it identified frivolous spending proposals currently included in the bill as offsets.
Outrageous items included in the Conference Report to have been exposed:
-This bill provides more than $1 billion dollars to create a new layer of bureaucracy within the Department of Health and Human Services laying the groundwork for Hillary Health Care. Basically, this bill contains a provision that could lead to the rationing of health care for Americans in the future.
-Next, there is a provision within the Stimulus Package that prohibits colleges and universities with a religious mission, those that allow faith-based student groups, or those who rent their facilities for worship services from receiving federal funding for building renovations and repairs. This is clearly discrimination and a violation of our religious liberties and could lead to costly litigation for these institutions.
-On tax cuts, the news doesn't get any better. The bill went into conference with 35% tax cuts and 65% spending. It's coming out of conference with 27% tax cuts and 73% spending. The tax relief portion amounts to $8 dollars in additional take-home pay per week for the average American worker, or a little more than an extra $1 dollar per day.
-This bill will contribute to a $3.5 trillion expansion of federal debt in 2009 and 2010--a staggering $30,000 in new debt per household, dumped into the laps of our children and grandchildren.