House and Senate Republicans Unify Against 'Stimulus' Bill

Republican members of the House and Senate yesterday held a rare joint press conference to make a statement of solidarity and to give an update on the state of the “stimulus” spending bill that is being rushed through the Senate as if on roller skates. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) co-hosted the presser with Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), the chairman of the Republican Study Committee.

DeMint reamed the Obama administration and Democrat leadership for the hasty process and the bill’s content. “Americans are outraged that the Democrat majority has used our economic troubles in this country as an excuse to pass the largest spending bill in history — with almost no debate over here — and rammed it through quicker than anything I’ve ever seen on the Senate side,” DeMint said. “They’re very upset that an administration that has promised change has the audacity to call this massive spending bill an economic stimulus plan. … Last week in the Congress we saw something we hadn’t seen in a long time: every House Republican standing together because of the importance of this issue. … Their courage has been contagious. All across America and here in the United States Senate it has galvanized opposition to this massive spending bill and every day the support for it is declining. We now have a chance to stop this bill and to replace it with a real economic stimulus bill that will protect and create jobs.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-N.C.) gave voice to concerns he has over the harried and hurried manner in which the spending bill is being shoved through the Senate. “In the House the bill was written because Nancy Pelosi said she won,” Graham said. “I don’t know that President Obama would agree if it was her winning or him, but it is that attitude that is not going to solve America’s problems on something this big. I wondered, ‘How could all of the Republicans vote no?’ Now I know. Whether you agree with the substance of the bill or not the process is not befitting of the Congress. Now we’re in the Senate, the great deliberative body, it takes longer to name a post office than it did to get this bill through. The markup lasted an hour and forty minutes without any hearings. …The President is right to be concerned about the near-term economic consequence of doing nothing. He keeps saying he wants a bill by President’s Day because of the last month economic figures. I am urging the President to think bigger than that. It’s not about next month, it’s about the next decade to come.”

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) said he was looking for reasons to support the bill. “If I thought for one moment that it would solve some problems that we are facing in our economy, I’d be for it,” Bunning said. “I’d vote for something if there were some relief in the housing industry, or some relief in the credit industry, but not one word that’s written in that bill does anything to stimulate our economy or get people back to work.”

Sen. Jim Thune (R-S.D.) has offered as an amendment the House Republican alternative that was defeated by House Democrats last week. “I’m happy to be able to offer the House Republican amendment, the alternative that they voted on in the House side in the United States Senate,” Thune said. “I filed that amendment and made it pending and I want to tell you that what’s impressive about it is the economic model that was used to analyze the effectiveness of the President’s plan was used to analyze the effectiveness of the House Republican plan and it was discovered that the House Republican plan creates twice as many jobs for half the cost. … I hope we get a vote on that in the United States Senate.”

President Obama yesterday began to defend the indefensible “stimulus” spending bill and the failed Keynesian economic policy it puts forth. Obama said that the Republican free-market solution embracing tax cuts as stimulus would not work. “I reject these theories and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted for change,” said Obama. In other words, Obama appears to be using the Pelosi “we won” model of debate.

When asked to respond to the President’s remarks, Rep. Price said, “That statement really is wish and hope over experience. There are over 300 economists of remarkable stature around this nation that said that increased government spending doesn’t improve economic productivity or economic performance in our nation including three Nobel Prize winners. What the American people know is allowing them to keep more of their own money and putting appropriate incentives in place for businesses who are the job creators in this country is the answer. If borrowing and spending would have gotten us out of the challenge that we’re in right now we would have been out of it long ago. We’ve done a lot of borrowing and spending.”

DeMint responded, “It’s incredible he [Obama] said that. … The reason we’re in recession right now goes back to bad government policy… bad policies of forcing banks to make loans to people who couldn’t afford to pay them back. …What Americans bought in November was a conservative platform of cutting taxes for 95% of Americans,” referring to Obama’s tax cuts campaign promise. “The first bill that Obama signed raised taxes on Americans,” DeMint continued. “He is not going to get away with blaming this bad economy on good policy and good free markets.”

I caught up to Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx.), the author of the tax holiday plan covered here on HUMAN EVENTS, after the presser. Gohmert told me, “The atmosphere of arrogance here from Democrats is that they think the American people are just too stupid to spend their own money to stimulate the economy.”

Yet it is Speaker Pelosi who thinks that 500 million Americans will lose their jobs unless this bill passes post haste. (Watch the video here.) As a nation of approximately 300 million people, that may just explain why Democrats are in such a panic. Perhaps she was including all the people who listened to Obama when he said he had campaigned in “all 57 states.”