Washington, DC – Idaho Senator Mike Crapo voted against the Senate version of the economic stimulus bill today, concerned that the legislation may become a “long-term problem” that could plunge the nation into $2 trillion in debt and make economic conditions worse over the next ten years. The full Senate voted 61 to 37 to send H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, as amended, to a conference committee with the U.S. House of Representatives to reconcile differences between the two versions.
“Despite the call by our President for a robust spending bill to create jobs now, only 13 percent of the appropriated infrastructure spending in this bill would be spent this year to create jobs,” Crapo said. “The Congressional Budget Office says over the next ten years this bill will seriously damage our economy because of the huge federal debt. I very strongly oppose this dangerous legislation because we can’t spend our way to prosperity. There are better ways to create jobs than this plan, but unfortunately, it appears big spending is back in Washington, DC.”
Crapo noted that, even after the approval of the Collins-Nelson amendment to reduce some of the proposed spending increases in the proposal, the $838 billion Senate compromise plan is still $18.7 billion larger than the House-passed version and extends $103.7 billion tax credits to those who don’t pay taxes. “This is a transfer of wealth that simply pours gasoline on the fire regarding our economy,” he observed.
A better idea, Crapo said, would be to advance federal spending for targeted infrastructure projects such as cleanup at the Idaho National Laboratory. He said speeding up expenditures that the government has already committed to in later years saves taxpayer money in the long run and creates jobs now. The compromise legislation actually contains $6.4 billion for cleanup that Crapo helped place in the bill. He says that kind of spending, plus broad tax relief to provide certainty to taxpayers and incentivise investment in homes and jobs, could help the economy in ways this bill fails to do.
“The bottom line is this bill contains too much deficit spending and too little job creation,” Crapo concluded. “Even the Congressional Budget Office agrees that only a third of this $838 billion in new deficit spending comes in tax relief—the other two thirds of the bill contain spending that may or may not have the job creation results we seek. We can’t risk creating a $2 trillion deficit that will haunt our children and grandchildren and could wreak havoc on our economy in the long run. The American people need to let Congress know we must go back to the drawing board on this legislation.”