Washington, DC – Citing concerns that the bill could plunge the country into trillions of dollars of debt and actually worsen the long-term economic situation, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo voted today against stopping debate and consideration of amendments on H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The cloture vote, bringing to an end debate on the Collins-Nelson Substitute Amendment, moves the measure toward final passage. Requiring 60 votes, cloture was invoked by the Senate by a vote of 61 to 36, with a final vote on the stimulus bill expected this week. Despite acceptance of an amendment to eliminate some tax and spending provisions that had initially been part of the bill, Crapo noted that extensive efforts to improve the bill went largely unheeded.
“The package has become an avalanche of special funding, much of which is unrelated to stimulating our economy as a whole,” Crapo said. “For example, recent testimony at a Senate Budget Committee hearing stated that last year’s stimulus package, which I voted against, did not achieve anywhere near the results the bill’s sponsors had predicted. The reports now show that, with regard to the more than $150 billion in rebate checks sent to the American people, only 12 cents of every dollar was actually spent by consumers and put back into the American economy. Now, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is reporting that this new stimulus bill is poorly targeted and poorly timed to help the economy in the next year, with much of the projected impact not happening until after this year is over.
“Moreover, the latest CBO numbers indicate that doing nothing may actually be better for the economy than passing this bill. The CBO says this legislation may actually result in a shrinking American economy over the next ten years because of the massive government debt we will carry which will crowd out investment by the private sector.
“On January 7, the CBO released its budget outlook for Fiscal Years 2009-2019. With a sobering prediction that this year’s deficit will total $1.2 trillion, without factoring the cost of a new stimulus bill, the report cites what many already know or suspect: the slowdown in economic activity and policy responses to challenges in the housing and financial markets have significantly affected the federal budget. Solutions to this staggering problem are not simple or short-term. The new deficit numbers indicate that we are faced with the proposition of borrowing an additional $1 trillion to spend now on a stimulus bill. We cannot spend our way to prosperity. It is time to stop digging this deficit ‘hole’ deeper by continuing to borrow money from future generations. Doing so does not lead to long-term investment, growth and economic stabilization.
“It is imperative that we focus on creating jobs, cutting spending, and lowering the burdens on individuals, families and businesses in order to stimulate real, sustained, long-term growth, as opposed to short-term, ineffective measures that will simply add to our national debt without providing real relief to either Idaho’s or America’s taxpayers and families,” Crapo concluded.