For Immediate Release
Republicans Mount Mini-Criticisms of Stimulus in the Media
WASHINGTON - Economists
and political leaders, from the Federal Reserve to the White House,
have reiterated the need for concerted fiscal measures to stave off a
severe recession. President Barack Obama has set a goal of saving or
creating 3 to 4 million jobs with an economic recovery package that in
its current form includes some $900 billion of increased spending and
The stimulus bill passed the House of Representatives without a single
Republican vote. Congressional Republicans argued that the bill
included large sums of wasteful spending that would not be effective in
stimulating the economy. They offered several specific examples in
recent television appearances.
Appearing on Meet the Press, House Minority Leader John Boehner
criticized the recovery package for including $21 million to re-sod the
National Mall as well as $200 million for contraceptives.2
On Face the Nation, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell mentioned
$600 million going to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees and
$150 million for honeybee insurance.3 Senator John McCain questioned a $50 million provision for the National Endowment for the Arts on CNN's American Morning.4
And on Fox News Sunday, Senator Jon Kyl criticized a program that would
provide benefits to World War II veterans in the Philippines.5
Republican leaders also released a longer list of provisions they
viewed as 'wasteful' to the media, including $6 billion to make federal
buildings more energy-efficient and $1.2 billion for "youth
activities," including summer jobs programs.6
Combined together, all of the provisions in question amount to roughly
$19.5 billion, which is little more than 2 percent of the total
economic recovery package. This indicates that, despite their outspoken
pessimism, Congressional Republicans object to only a modest fraction
of the stimulus package.
1 Taylor, Andrew. "Obama: Catastrophe Coming if Rescue Isn't Passed." Associated Press, February 4, 2009. Retrieved
February 4, 2009 from http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/
2 Meet the Press, NBC. January 25, 2009. Transcript. See http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/
3 "McConnell: 'Wait-and-See' on Daschle." Face the Nation, CBS. February 1, 2009. Transcript.
4 American Morning. CNN. February 2, 2009. Transcript.
5 Fox News Sunday. FOX News. February 1, 2009. Transcript.
6 "What GOP Leaders Deem Wasteful in Senate Stimulus Bill." CNN. February 3, 2009.
Retrieved February 4, 2009 from http://www.cnn.com/2009/
The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives. In order for citizens to effectively exercise their voices in a democracy, they should be informed about the problems and choices that they face. CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.