$787 billion can’t buy an ounce of bipartisanship

February 13, 2009

WASHINGTON – Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives were unapologetic on Friday after not a single one of them voted for the $787 billion economic stimulus package.
The Democratic majority pushed the spending and tax cuts measure through the House 246-183 at the urging of Democratic President Barack Obama, who had courted Republican support.
Republican leaders insisted the plan may do more harm than good by expanding government and not doing enough to creboehnerate private-sector jobs.
Representative Virginia Foxx went further. “I think it’s a cruel hoax on the American people that they have been led to believe that by passing this bill that there are suddenly going to be millions of jobs out there, particularly for blue collar workers that have lost their jobs,” she said.
Through weeks of debate, the two parties stuck to their ideologies, with Republicans favoring tax cuts and Democrats leaning toward government spending.
Republicans may be hoping their lock-step opposition will help vault them back into majority status in the House. They look longingly back to 1993, when every House Republican voted against a balanced-budget plan by then-President Bill Clinton that accomplished its goal.
Nonetheless, Republicans took control of the House in 1994 elections.
Asked whether Republicans risked looking bad if the U.S. economy does recover in the near term, House Republican Leader John Boehner said: “I think standing on principle and doing the right things for the right reasons on behalf of your constituents will never get you in trouble.”

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Boehner holds a copy of the stimulus bill, following the passage in the House of Representatives of the stimulus package)


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The house republicans did what they were elected to do, try and stop a very spending plan from being passed with money we don’t even have. In the days ahead we will learn what is actually in the plan that has nothing to do with economic stimulus in any way. It is a travesty this plan was passed with no one given the chance to read it. I don’t even want to hear anything about this being good for America, because it isn’t!!

This will lead to hyperinflation. I will just sit back and watch this ship go down. Thanks alot Obama and congressional democrats (and 3 borderline republicans who were bought). Don’t pay attention that only 37 percent of the nation wanted this to pass.

It’s all on your shoulders now. No one to blame but you when it doesn’t work as intended.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

I hope the senate republicans do the same tax cuts not spending is the only way to get confidence back in the market.

Posted by kj | Report as abusive

If tax cuts were the way to get the economy moving again, shouldn’t the economy be moving very well considering all the tax cuts Dubya kept giving away to his rich buddies for eight years? Sorry guys, but trickle down just isn’t trickling down anymore.

Posted by jimbo | Report as abusive

eric i know answering this question will be like pulling your back teeth out, but the subject has to be dealt with.`this is not a bipartisan spending plan,the republicans are not involved ,if it goes sour the democrats are solely responsible,i think we should at least agree on these statements at this stage, for down the road discussions,if it goes well then you can crow (birds again)about it,BUT if it does not then we won,t be plagued by you blaming bush i can,t take it,it,s incessant.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

The U.S.and World Economy is in dire straits and the Republicans did NOT lift a finger to help out.

Posted by Papa Jones | Report as abusive

The Republicans did not vote on the package because they want Obama to fail and do not want bipartisanship to work under his administration. Those of you who support these Rethugs please tell me what SOLUTION did the Rethugs come up with other then giving more tax cuts to the rich. What was their alternative to this plan??? If you don;t have a solution of your own, attach the only one floating out there and hope it fails. That’s what the Rethugs did. They weren’t doing this to “protect” the American people. They did this out of spite. They are like a bunch of babies who lost and refused to except that their party will soon go by the way of the Whig party. Our world is not as white as they are accustomed to and people are SICK and tired of the two Americas. Rethugs preach hatred and division. That’s their motto. Clinking to your old ways will not improve your chances of survival it only make you hit bottom and disappear much faster. I’m still waiting to hear how they plan on resolving the current crisis. For weeks all I’ve heard is their mouths complaining about NOTHING. Where’s your freaking solution Republicans, the public awaits. You know, it’s amazing to me that the republicans had no problems voting for the bailout of Wall Street and the Banks but when it comes to helping the average man, they have no problems being the party of NO SOLUTION and NO NEW Ideas. On a final note for those of you who buy into the idea that we will nothing for our children because of this package. If we have nothing and we all end up dying of hunger, what exactly are we leaving our children by doing nothing other then complain about a group of people that are willing to try something. I’m not expecting this package to fix the economy overnight. I do believe that it will help stop the bleeding so we can start to recover from the HORRIBLE mess left behind by George Bush.

Posted by Jean | Report as abusive

A sampling of the Pork-barrel spending that has NOTHING to do with helping the american family..
http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=Yjc yODIyZGM2MGU1ZDdkNDgxZDc3OTNjYjM4ZDY1ODI =

Posted by Taxpayer | Report as abusive

The Democratic Party left a yearly SURPLUS of $150 bills per year, which the GOP transformed into a yearly deficit of $1 Trillion. In 2001 the total national debt was $5 Tril, most of that already run up by GOPers, the GOP then doubled that number to $10 Tril!

Simultaneously, they marched us off the economic cliff… Now they try to tell us how wonderful Herbert Hoover was…

Isn’t it time for any honest Republicans left to admit that their ideas SOUND great but just don’t work in the real world?

Posted by Craignonumbers | Report as abusive

The GOP needs to put their money where their mouth is. Refuse any of the money for their States. This will reduce the amount we needto borrow. Any benefit will then only trickle down.

Posted by william, oregon | Report as abusive

I don’t know a whole lot about economics, but spending money when you are billions in debt doesn’t seem like the best of ideas.

Posted by Nolan Lynch | Report as abusive

jean in response to your augment ,when did barney frank and cris dodd leave the republican party and join the democrats?

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Citizens suffer-children without proper school/college education&health care,single parent family without moral & social support,Senior citizens without adequate budget& family care; and youth -future hope without jobs.Positive
attitude is the need of the hour to unify society and act to help others.General welfare of all is the directive principle & must be followed in our actions.

Posted by chander | Report as abusive

The republicans opposed the bill because it represented free political points. They know that it will pass anyway. This way they can be seen to oppose it and satisfy their power base. Notice how little talk there is of an actual filibuster.

If they were in control they would probably table and pass a similar bill. To say that Republicans are against spending money that the US doesn’t have is ridiculous. A republican government already passed the last 700 bn dollar wad of cash after the investor class made it clear they wanted it. And tax cuts amount to “spending” the same amount of money, since they amount to lost revenue that inflates the public debt every bit as much.

Posted by Michael B | Report as abusive

I for one am extremely dissapointed in both parties. The republicans (of which I used to be one) and the democrats (of which I probably never will be one. As an independent voter, my comment is simply that these two parties had better start working together or they will both find themselves out on thier ears. My opinion is that the democrats at least attempted to appear that they were courting bipartisan support, while the rebulicans made absolutely no attempt to negotiate.

Posted by Bruce White | Report as abusive

Why do they hate America?

We needed this package to save people’s livelihoods, but they are so caught up in political maneuverings that they are willing to sacrifice the country’s well-being.

Posted by Ray | Report as abusive

The Repub party only concern is POWER. Winning elections to stay in POWER. They could care less “what shape the country is in” as long as they are in POWER. Calling the shots. The “talking head industry” is their mouthpiece to keep the fervor of their “base” whipped-up. Why? POWER. Without the angry constituency, they will not be able get POWER. At this point, we need to climb out of the hole we are in. We need to do something. Just as Pres O says, “doing nothing is not an option”. In worn out terms – become a part of the solution instead of part of the problem. Come on Repubs – get it together and join in, help out, do what’s right.

Posted by elooise | Report as abusive

this posting is directed at reuters as well as our insider democrats,is there any truth to the talk that the UN and the world bank are hoping to get a piece of the money in the stimulus bill as well?

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

This isn’t about the desire to have Obama fail – it is about taking fiscal responsibility. Someone needs to! What are our children to learn from this? Overspend, and indulge recklessly but don’t worry… Daddy will just write another check?!! That’s sad, and wrong – and responsible people shouldn’t be stuck paying for it.

Posted by MJ | Report as abusive

Waiting for the next round of elections, when the Repubicans will lose even more seats. They did not hear the American people when they mandated CHANGE. They don’t get it now, and they’ll be even less represented in two years. For the first time in a long while, the populace found that their votes do count for something, and they will be even more willing to exercise their right to vote in the coming elections. Reprehensible Repubicans.

Posted by Pat | Report as abusive

I think now that the Stimulus Bill has passed congress. It’s now up to the American People (Republican or Democrats or Independent Voters) to band together again to kick start the failing economy. If we are still gonna argue who’s right or wrong. There won’t be any solution that’s ever going to work. Time has come to ask ourselves what we can do for our country.

Posted by Andrew K | Report as abusive

could we see money from stimulus bill be used,as the” media control bill” returns, to subsidize” air america” and perhaps nationalize the new york times?is that part of the change that pat is talking about?ray republicans don,t hate america, but we might have felt a little bit more comfortable if congress had read the bill first.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Maybe if they actually read it they would understand. This should have been left alone to fix itself. We already bailed out banks and the car companies. All we have now is a bleak future for our children and theirs to have to pay this back. Broken promises of tax breaks for all those making 250K oh wait,it was 200K oh wait, no it was 150K and now? What about transparency, pork and sitting on a bill for a few days? I voted for a change and still they spend on swamp mice. I do hope those mice enjoy the 30 mil they are about to receive. As for me I am not going to spend any of my future extra $13 a week.

Posted by Pat B. | Report as abusive

As an Independent, I am completely disgusted by how both parties are behaving. To begin with, this country was created “by the people, for the people” not for the politicos to play politics without considering the constituency’s input.

Unfortunately, it is not only the Repbulicans “playing” partisan politics, but the Democrats in both houses, and the President. When you have the leaders in both houses and the President state, “We won, you lost” that is nothing but partisan politics and “Power” playing.

What we need, in this country, is to get back to what our Founding Fathers imagined for this country and hold our politicians, at all levels, responsible for representing the People not the special interests or the big money donators.

I hope and pray every day that this Stimulus Plan does what it has been “promised” to do, but from my side of the equation, I don’t see how spending more, creating larger government, and not really creating jobs is going to help our economy.

I am not an economist, so I don’t speak with any expertise; just maintaining a household budget and knowing that if there is no money in the bank, there is no more spending.

Posted by Liz C | Report as abusive

President Obama is now saying that it will take time for this Stimulus to work. 250 economists signed a petition against this bill, some saying that given time the economy will come around on its own. I think we could have saved 787 billion dollars.

Posted by Luigi | Report as abusive

The House Republicans are bragging like conquering heroes about their unanimous rejection of the economic stimulus package last week. They have done little more than broadcast party talking points, basically a litany of every tired, failed GOP buzzword from ACORN to golf carts. Years from now, when historians are trying to sort out what went so terribly wrong with conservatism in the early twenty-first century, I really hope this month doesn’t get overlooked.
Whether you found merit in the stimulus plan or not, Republican efforts during the debate were another step backwards for the party in its efforts to remain relevant. John Thune took to the floor of the Senate to explain how tall a pile of $100 bills would be if it totaled $1 trillion. Mitch McConnell told his colleagues, “If you started the day Jesus Christ was born and spent $1 million every day since then, you still wouldn’t have spent $1 trillion.” GOP lawmakers invested heavily in going after money relating to a salt marsh mouse in California, despite the fact that the bill didn’t actually include such a provision.
Not only were their arguments wrong, they were ridiculous.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

i take your point getplanning you mention about the mouse ,perhaps the republicans have as well not read the bill?

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

The hypocrisy of politics is almost humorous. Wasn’t it George W. Bush who spent the most taxpayer money and created the biggest government in American history? It is amazing how quickly these hangers on Republicans have forgotten their own actions when they were in power. Is this stimulus package really that much different then anything Bush proposed other then to spread the money beyond his rich circle of friends?

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

good comment mark, yes bush had created the biggest government,well up to today tuesday.i will admit at the crash bush seemed he was not sure what to do,but what is just as scary,nether does geithner,the markets dropped 400 points, and what is obama going to do?look at your notes mark,spend the money among his circle of friends.it,s called politics,but this time the “change”is not what we can call, small change.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Thankfully President Obama has many more friends then Bush including regular folks like you and me.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

how is it going to help me mark?i don,t need a bailout i have not over spent,i don,t advocate socialism it does not work.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Hmm… let’s compare Bush socialism to Obama socialism. Bush spends $800 billion to bail out the finance industry essentially socializing their debt while enabling his fat cat wall street friends to continue collecting their exurbanite salary and bonuses. Obama spends $800 billion to cut middle class taxes, create jobs for the middle class and assist states in minimizing their own economic crisis’s which if applied correctly should also assist the middle class. I prefer the Obama version. I love Republicans who cry socialism every time democrats try to support the middle class but then claim good economic policy when their socialist practices allow their rich friends to get richer.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

ok mark, bush was a closet socialist, now i get it,that was the problem, thanks mark.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

You’re welcome.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

I don’t understand why there is an income limit on the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit for 2009. Isn’t the idea to get any and all eligible and qualified potential homebuyers into this daunting real estate market? Wouldn’t that really take action on the root cause of this economic crisis? To me it seems like Obama and Congress are going out of their way to make sure that certain people who they consider ‘wealthy’ don’t receive any benefit or relief from this plan.

Posted by Concerned Voter | Report as abusive