Alexander: Stimulus Should Focus on Fixing Housing First

Republicans Disappointed With Lack of Bipartisanship on Bill

Posted on February 12, 2009

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today made the following remarks regarding the stimulus on the Senate floor: • “It took from the founding of our country all the way until the late 1970s to accumulate a national debt as large as the amount of money we’re spending in this bill.” • “The amount of money spent for education is such that it may be the largest federal education bill we’ve ever passed in terms of dollars. The amount of money spent for energy in this bill is enough that it’ll be one of the largest energy bills, and the amount spent for Medicaid in the House and Senate bills, nearly $90 billion over two years to the states, may completely distort the whole discussion we’re about to have on national health care policy. These are all discussions that normally we would take weeks to consider.” • “Republicans want a stimulus package – we’ve made clear that we think we ought to start by fixing housing first, letting people keep more of their own money, and confining the spending to only those projects that create jobs.” • “We’re very disappointed about the lack of bipartisanship. We respect our new president, and we want him to succeed, because if he succeeds, our country succeeds. And we would have expected that in this first major piece of legislation, that a number of us would sit down on both sides of the aisle and compare our notes and say, let’s go forward. And we know that the Democrats have the majority and we have a minority, and so more of their ideas are going to be included than our ideas. But 58 Democrats and three Republicans is not a bipartisan effort.” • “I’m afraid in this case we have not had that kind of bipartisanship, and what I fear is that this is not a good piece of legislation.” • “I would hope that we can start over again on this bill and retarget it, make it temporary, make it timely, and save hundreds of billions and focus on housing and lending, or that somehow we can get this Congress on track with the president, so that when we say bipartisan we do bipartisan and we don’t have an attitude that says, in effect: we won the election and we’ll write the bill.”