One of just seven House Democrats to do so, Rep. Heath Shuler voted against the $790 billion compromise stimulus bill today. Earlier this year, Shuler also voted against the House version of the bill, citing concern that it did not include sufficient infrastructure spending. In this latest vote, Shuler reiterated his position. In a written statement, he declared that the compromise bill contains “entirely too much spending in areas that will not provide an immediate stimulative effect to our nation’s economy.”
The stimulus package should focus “solely on programs that offer an immediate economic impact — like extending unemployment insurance — and investments in our nation’s infrastructure, which have a rate of return of 6 to 1,” Shuler said. He emphasized, “Across the country there are currently transportation projects totaling $64 billion that could be under contract within 180 days, yet this bill provides only $27.5 billion for those projects.”
Shuler also argued that representatives were not given adequate time to review the compromise proposal. He has recently proposed requiring that bills be posted online for at least 48 hours prior to being considered on the House floor.
Shuler was unavailable for comment on his vote. See his full written statement below.
— Margaret Williams, contributing editor
For Immediate Release
February 13, 2009
Contact: Andrew Whalen, Communications Director
office: (202) 225-6401 / cell: (202) 731-5116
Rep. Shuler Statement on Conference Report of Stimulus Package
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Heath Shuler today released the following statement after voting against the conference report on H.R. 1, the economic stimulus package.
“We all agree that action must be taken to stimulate our economy. However, I continue to disagree with the course of action laid out in this bill. Its focus should have been solely on programs that offer an immediate economic impact—like extending unemployment insurance—and investments in our nation’s infrastructure, which have a rate of return of 6 to 1. While this final bill does provide some funding in those areas I am remarkably concerned that only 3.4% of the funding in this package goes toward repairing our country’s highways and bridges. More specifically, across the country there are currently transportation projects totaling $64 billion that could be under contract within 180 days, yet this bill provides only $27.5 billion for those projects.”
“In the end, this bill simply contained entirely too much spending in areas that will not provide an immediate stimulative effect to our nation’s economy. With our national debt approaching $11 trillion we should not be borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars without careful and deliberate consideration.”
“Additionally, I am remarkably disappointed in House leadership for bringing a bill of this size and magnitude up for a vote without giving members adequate time to review it fully. We must have a greater respect for this institution and for its Members.”
Shuler introduced legislation in the 110th Congress, H.Res, 484, to require all legislation be posted on the Internet for 48 hours before it is considered on the House floor.