Alexander: Bailout Bill Ties Hands of Governors, Raises Taxes, Adds to Debt

Says, “When we say to any governor of a state, here's some money, and here are some rules to keep you from doing what you need to do, I think we're doing no service there.”

Posted on August 3, 2010

WASHINGTON – Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, made the following remarks today on the Senate floor prior to voting against legislation that would add $5 billion to the national debt and raise taxes in order to makeup budget shortfalls being faced by some states: 

“Here is what the bill, which is characterized as being about teachers and Medicaid, actually does and why the Senate should not go forward with it: 

  • The first reason, both in terms of education and Medicaid, is it ties the governors’ hands to keep them from doing what they should be doing. 
  • The next reason is there are $10 billion in permanent tax increases on multinational corporations which will make it more likely that American jobs will go overseas. 
  • Another reason is there are $3 billion in spending cuts in defense, some of which would come out of the operations and maintenance budget of soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
  • And the final reason is it would add $5 billion to the debt at a time when the federal government is currently borrowing 41 cents out of every dollar we’re spending.  We don't have the money any more than the states do. 

“I wish every state had done what Tennessee has done.  Our Democratic governor said in his State of the State address in 2009 when the stimulus package was announced that it was not a panacea and substantial cuts are needed.  In these hard times we're going to have to cut the budget, and he cut the budget. But when we say to any governor of a state, here's some money, and here are some rules to keep you from doing what you need to do, I think we're doing no service there. 

“I'm going to oppose this measure this afternoon.  And I'm going to support efforts to rein in spending, give states the freedom to create a more limited government and accumulate less debt so we can create a pro-growth environment that creates jobs in the private sector.”

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