I rise today in support of the American taxpayer, not the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
For months the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was billed by President Obama as a job creating, infrastructure improvement package.
I know I wasn't the only one that heard the words ``shovel ready'' over and over again when I inquired about ways to help Florida's 5th Congressional District.
Despite the fact that this bill was crafted exclusively by President Obama and Speaker Pelosi, we as a country were asked to give President Obama a chance and were told that we should trust his judgment.
President Obama has taken what should have been a bipartisan bill to create jobs and packed it with ideological spending priorities from the liberal left.
The best way to stimulate the economy and create jobs is to cut tax rates across the board, reduce the corporate tax rate, and better fund organizations like the Small Business Administration and the Federal Housing Administration. These concrete steps would stimulate job growth, put money into consumers' hands quickly, and help prevent future home foreclosures.
Our Republican alternative, offered by Mr. Camp and Mr. Cantor, would do just that. We eliminate all the pork-ridden projects, cancel out billions in funds for projects not ready till 2012, and focus on providing immediate relief to the American public.
The bill before us today does virtually nothing to promote immediate job growth or help struggling businesses. America's strength is based on the hard work and ingenuity of its citizens, not throwing taxpayer funds into yet another bureaucratic black hole.
A real stimulus package should return tax dollars back to the people that paid them, provide real incentives for American businesses to hire new employees, and help people stay in their homes. The bill before the House today does none of this; instead it focuses on make-work government projects and pet projects of the liberal left.
Mr. Chair, facts are stubborn things.
Only $450 million of this bill (less than one half of one percent) would go to capitalize a loan program for small business, even though the facts show that small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the key engine of job growth in this country.
Furthermore, only seven percent of this package will actually be spent on improving our nation's roads and infrastructure.
Why would the Democrat Majority and President Obama not provide more funding in this bill to help small business, to improve our roads and repair our aging infrastructure?
My only guess is that their idea of a ``stimulus'' plan means we increase funding for a myriad of already bloated federal government programs that should be dealt with in the appropriations process, not an emergency jobs and infrastructure bill.
Some of the most egregious examples of programs within the massive spending bill include; $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts; $6.2 billion for a Weatherization Assistance Program; $150 million for the Smithsonian Facilities; $1.1 billion for Comparative Effectiveness Research; $100 million for Lead-Based Paint Hazards. And a long, long list of other misguided priorities.
With these non-essential projects, the message that President Obama is sending to the American taxpayer is that pork barrel policies are here to stay, and that the era of Change in Washington is already dead.
While the President and the Speaker have attempted to distract the American public from the true intentions of this bill, the Congressional Budget Office has called them to account.
The non-partisan CBO found that only $26 billion in this bill would be spent in 2009, and less than half of the total would be spent by the end of 2011.
What happened to ``shovel ready''?
What happened to creating jobs with purpose?
And speaking of jobs, wouldn't you think that the best way to create jobs in this country would be to stimulate private sector investment and growth?
Sadly, this Administration feels that big government should get even bigger, and if you run the numbers, even richer.
According to a study of the bill published in the Wall Street Journal today, each new government job created by the Democrat bill will cost the American taxpayer $646,214.
We all joke about the inefficiency of the federal government, but at least we don't pay them $600,000 a year!
Furthermore, one would hope that if the American public is being asked to go another trillion dollars into debt that at least Florida would get our fair share of funds in exchange.
Sadly, when Democrat leaders drafted this bill they chose to give Florida the absolute lowest dollars per capita of any state and the second lowest dollars per capita for transportation of any state. If my constituents are forced to take on that much new debt, they should at least get something out of this bargain with the devil. Instead they get shortchanged and still get stuck with the bill. That is not fair, but is what we have come to expect from this Democrat leadership.
The bottom line is that we can not spend our way out of this economic mess.
And by doubling down, my colleagues are making our hole that much deeper.
There is no doubt that our economy needs a kick start to put us back on the path to prosperity. What we do not need, however, is yet another pork ridden bailout that produces few jobs, sends billions of your money to corrupt organizations like ACORN, and does nothing to put money back in the hands of American taxpayers.
Mr. Chair, I oppose the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and I encourage my colleagues to do the same.