The Texas Congressional delegation's vote on the economic stimulus package was split down party lines.
In the House, the 20 Republicans representing the state joined all other party members in voting against the $787 billion bill. That, of course, including the Brazos Valley's four GOP representatives: Kevin Brady (representing Walker and Montgomery Counties), Michael McCaul (Washington, Waller and part of Burleson), John Carter (Milam and part of Robertson) and Joe Barton (Leon and Trinity).
"While I do support some provisions of the bill such as the tax relief and investments in infrastructure, only 17% of the $1 trillion provides new tax relief and less than 10% provides new roads and bridges. The rest is pork. There’s simply not enough stimulus in this bill to give the economy the immediate jolt it needs," said Rep. McCaul (R-District 10) in a press release.
McCaul cites the Congressional Budget Office in his release, saying over the next decade, "extra debt will 'crowd out' private investment, leading to a lower gross domestic product, which would hurt workers' wages."
Voting in favor of the stimulus in the House was Democrat Chet Edwards. He and his 11 Texas Democratic House colleagues were among the majority. The stimulus passed 246-183.
Rep. Edwards (D-District 17) said bold action is needed to curb a recession that has left 1.6 million Americans without job, a number equivalent to more than half the population of his district.
“This bill will create and save over 260,000 Texas jobs, including 8,500 jobs in our district, and provides tax cuts to 95% of working families," Edwards said in a press release. "It will double funding for Texas highway construction, and modernize our schools, veterans’ hospitals and military barracks. I believe that bold action to create new jobs is far better than a Herbert Hoover, ‘just say no’ approach, which is why I join with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the National Association of Homebuilders in supporting this recovery bill.”
In the Senate, both Texas leaders, Republicans Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, were opposed to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Sen. Cornyn slammed the quick vote on the House-Senate conference report, saying members of Congress and Americans had less than 24 hours to review the massive document. He also said the state's share of the national debt will increase $90 billion with this plan.
"A stimulus bill would have been a good idea if it had been focused on the right priorities—fixing housing first, providing taxpayers with meaningful, broad-based tax relief and eliminating redundant and ineffective Washington programs," the junior senator said in a press release. "Instead, we saw Democrats in both chambers redefine ‘stimulus’ to mean nearly anything any of them desired. Many programs in the bill are wasteful and unnecessary. The bill will use taxpayer money for things like golf carts, art projects and company cars for federal employees."
Sen. Hutchison, in a speech on the Senate floor prior to the 60-38 vote that approved the act, said she respected President Barack Obama for speaking with Senate and House Republicans, but said House Democrats had not allowed GOP input in writing the bill, and that it was put together too fast considering Hutchison said it will add $1 trillion to the national deficit.
"Mr. President, this is not the right bill for the American people, and I urge my colleagues to please consider their positions and let us do this right: Tax cuts to spur spending, tax cuts to spur the opportunity for corporations and businesses to hire people, spending on infrastructure, more in military construction, not less," Hutchison said speaking from the Senate floor prior to the vote. "That would be a bill that we could support, Mr. President."
Three Republican Senate votes in favor of the bill were enough to gain the 60 votes needed to pass it.
The bill is expected to be signed by Mr. Obama as early as Monday.
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