Live Blogging General Debate Before House Votes on Stimulus Bill

11:30 a.m. — The House is beginning 90 min. of general debate. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) is asking that the debate time be increased an hour. David Obey (D-WI) says that the House already voted on the rules for the debate. There is now discussion about whether the Democrat conference report should be considered since it has not been available for three calendar days, Tom Price (R-GA) is making the argument that it shouldn’t.

11:43 a.m. — Obey and Lewis are leading the Democrat and Republican sides, respectively, of the debate. Each side gets a total of 45 min. Here we go.

11:44 a.m. — Lewis just said he will be voting “No” … as in “No surprise.” He is making the argument that the bill is only going to grow government, says 191 government programs are being permanently expanded … 39% of spending is for temporary stimulus; 61%, for program expansion. (No details provided beyond these.) He is complaining about the way the conference report was introduced, via website at 12:30 a.m. this morning.

11:51 a.m. — Charles Rangel (D-NY) is talking in generalities about how the House will be remembered if it does not pass the bill, when “everyone is screaming out … to come to our nation’s economic savior [sic].”

11:55 a.m. — Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), chair of the Small Business Committee, is noting the bill allots $21 billion to small business development, with a resulting 30,000 jobs created.

11:56 a.m. — Dave Camp (R-MI) is referencing the CBO’s report earlier this week about the 10-15 year projections of the effect of this bill on GDP. (FYI: Be cautious of economic forecasts that look that far into the future.) Referencing the back-room nature of the conference debate yesterday. He is voting “No.”

12:01 p.m. — Sander Levin (D-MI) says bill provides $1 bn for transportation and infrastructure in Michigan. Expanded unemployment benefits to 161,000 …

12:03 p.m. — Harold Rogers (R-KY) says “principles of democracry are being compromised” because of way bill has been drafted and presented. Is talking about a $12.1-trillion debt … (Note the Bush Administration is responsible for a larger portion of it than will ever be contributed by this stimulus bill.)

12:07 p.m. — Xavier Becerra (D-CA) is talking about the technological innovation promised by the bill, specifically the tech improvements in healthcare.

12:09 p.m. — Jack Kingston (R-GA) says Republicans offered a bill that would create twice the jobs at half the cost … Does he mean 7 million jobs at a price of $400 billion? Is he talking about the bill they introduced when the House voted on the original bill? He talked about money going to a gigantic “rat in San Francisco.” David Obey held up the bill and dared Kingston to find the appropriation and show it to him.

12:12 p.m. — Jim McDermott (D-WA) says this is a “New Deal for a new century” … adds $100 to average unemployment insurance, reminding everyone that the average UI payout doesn’t reach poverty level.

12:13 p.m. — Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) says only 7% (UPDATE: Originally, I had “17%.” I misheard.) of bill goes to roads and transporation infrastructure and that bill “may lay the groundwork for a government takeover of the healthcare industry.”

12:16 p.m. — Richard Neal (D-MA): “operative word here is ‘necessary’.” Small-biz expensing increased (in contradiction to Frelinghuysen’s statement that small biz is not helped by tax portion of bill). 10,000 families a day “slipping into foreclosure.”

12:19 p.m. — Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) asks where this money is coming from … just said we are following the m.o. of Paul Volcker. (Didn’t that work? It hurt, but it worked.) Wants to do something like give workers a “payroll tax holiday” that will “last several years” (!!!) …

12:21 p.m. — Bob Etheridge (D-NC) talking about money for school construction … “federal government in partnership with school districts” to create private-sector jobs in schoool construction. “Hundreds of school-building programs stalled in downturn.”

12:23 p.m. — Zach Wamp (R-TN) questioning the approach of “spending our way to prosperity.” Predicts “waste, fraud, and abuse.” “Just because Republicans” spent a lot of money “after September 11” doesn’t mean the “Democrats should be allowed to wreck our ship of state.”

12:25 p.m. — Henry Waxman (D-CA): bill providees (1) broadband investment … expand internet access in rural and underserved areas … (2) energy investment … development of “smart grid technology” … (3) health care investment … assist unemployed pay for health coverege, helps employers pay for people transitioning to work, from medicaid coverage to private insurance, states with higher levels of unemployment get more assistance in bill funding for health care.

12:30 p.m. — Tom Latham (R-IA): Government is set to appropriate $4 trillion in four months (starting with September/October EESA).

12:31 p.m. — John Dingell (D-MI): “Its not just about spending money, its about doing something right about a terrifying situation.”

12:32 p.m. — Mike Simpson (R-ID) says the bill is fundamentally wrong. Pointing out stuff the bill will pay for that is “good” but not “necessary” and that he is “embarrased to be a member” of the House.

12:33 p.m. — Frank Pallone (D-NJ): What’s necessary is providing a bold bill, not nickle-and-diming little projects … look at the broad strokes, the net effect.

(12:37 p.m. – 12:43 p.m. — Had to do some parenting.)

12:43 p.m. — Anna Eshoo (D-CA): We are building for the future … healthcare for the unemployed, expanded unemployment benefits … money for energy, for the sciences.

12:44 p.m. — Paul Ryan (R-WI): Says “tired, old ideas,” like one-time rebate checks and pork, are just “more of the same.” Says more money allotted “to NEA than to small businesses.”

12:47 p.m. — Lois Capps (D-CA): Programs funded will train more nursing-school faculty, allowing for expansion of nursing education.

12:48 p.m. — Mike Rogers (R-MI) says he would support this bill “if” it was actually going to provide “hope or a job.” (Emphasis mine) … The mouse is demystified … EPA funding for a marsh habitat in San Francisco.

12:51 p.m. — Eliot Engel (D-NY)  … (Sorry, I missed his point.) … Kevin Brady (R-TX) says this bill is all about special interests and lobbyists. This bill is “too big,” “too expensive,” and “way too slow” … cites (misleading) Republican claim that each job created will cost $250K.

12:53 p.m. — Jane Harman (D-CA): This bill “sets the framework for future climate-change legislation.”

12:54 p.m. — Peter Roskam (R-IL): Uses cake metaphor to say this bill will result in an early buzz but in 10 years, negative GDP growth … again, citing CBO forecasts.

12:55 p.m. — Edward Markey (D-MA): This bill will create 3.5 million jobs; there is more money for the NIH budget to fund research after five years of budget cuts for the organization.

12:56 p.m. — Candice Miller (R-MI): $7 billion total for Michigan, while $8 billion to build a railway from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. She is outraged.

12:59 p.m. — Peter Welch (D-VT): Bill will provide 8,000 jobs in Vermont; references expanded benefits for unemployed.

1:00 p.m. — Jim Hensarling (R-TX): “The mistakes of individuals, the Democrats want to force” on everybody. Says this all is due to individuals spending too much and getting too deeply in debt. Citing specific small businesses (by name) that Repbulicans want to help and Democrats, apparently, don’t.

1:02 p.m. — Steny Hoyer (D-MD): We did it [the Republican] way, and we have the worst [economy] since the 1930s. He hopes everyone — regardless of party — prays this bill works. This bill invests American dollars into the American economy.

1:10 p.m. — Aaron Schock (R-IL): Has received over 1,400 communications from Caterpillar employees alone, asking him to vote against the bill. (Obama made a stimulus-bill promotion appearance at a Caterpillar factory earlier this week.)

(1:10 p.m. – 1:19 p.m. — Laptop reboot)

1:19 p.m. — Eric Cantor (R-VA) referenced the Republican version that created twice as many jobs at half the price. (I have yet to see serious analysis saying same.) Cantor yielded to Candice Miller (R-MI) who is asking that the full, original amount for sales-tax credit (~ $10 Bn) on auto purchases be restored.

1:20 p.m. — Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “The ship of state is difficult to turn” but this bill is a bold, swift success for Obama. The bill represents the Democratic platform and Obama’s vision and is very different from the “do nothing” approach. (Here come the complaints of partisanship.) Two million Americans will be lifted out of poverty with “Making Work Pay” tax cuts. Every dollar invested in food stamps and unemployment insurance yields about $1.70 … “biggest bang for the buck” … Invoking Lincoln. (Lincoln’s been a part of several members’ spiels.)

1:30 p.m. — John Boehner (R-OH): “American economy needs help … Congress needs to act now.” Bill is not about “jobs, jobs, jobs.” It is about “spending, spending, spending.” (The poor Salt Marsh mouse is taking a beating.) He is asking about how building a rail line between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is going to help someone in his district? (WTF? How does creating a job in his district help someone in my city? This argument makes no sense!) Again, complaining about how bill was constructed and how the conference was held yesterday. He says Republicans know how to be bipartisan. (For insight in conference goings-on, please refer to Alex Koppelman’s War Room post yesterday.) He hopes the bill works, but he “surely has [his] doubts, so [he] is going to vote ‘No’.” Referencing that magical Republican plan that would create twice as many jobs at half the cost.

1:43 p.m. — David Obey (D-WI): “Show me a smaller problem, and I will be happy to produce a smaller bill.” Opponents “trash by trivializing.” There is no earmark for a Los Angeles-Las Vegas rail line. Funding is discretionary. Re: the Salt Marsh mouse is not getting $30 million; there is no mention of any funding for a Salt Marsh preserve. NEA is not getting more money than are initiatives to develop and aid small businesses. The bill’s big problem is that it creates a million fewer jobs than the bill that originally went to the Senate. Those jobs were lost in an effort to be bipartisan. Bill is an investment in every American, “not just the top 10%” who benefit from Republican policies.

1:51 p.m. — Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and Obey are thanking each other and their staffs for all of the hard work put into this bill and into the debates.



  1. MarshallDog · ·

    I think I’ve figured out the Republican’s magic plan for creating twice the jobs at half the cost. Actually, the entire plan is just to say they hav a plan to create twice the jobs at half the cost. Since they know this bill is going to pass, there’s really no point in actually creating their own plan. They have have to say they had a plan, and if the Democrat’s plan fails, they can say, “We had a better plan, but the Democrats wouldn’t listen.”

    I love Boner’s question about the rail line jobs not helping people in his district. Is he suggesting that any plan they come up with has to show that each dollar will help every person in the country equally? Is the Republican plan just to send everyone in America a check for roughly $2700?

  2. But how does eleveryone else getting $2700 benefit me?

  3. Wow! The Republicans just voted against the largest tax cut in history.

  4. […] February 25th, 2009 · No Comments · Author – didionsmommy, Economics, Politics This world view is the least of Jindal's problems.If you didn’t watch last night, you have probably heard this morning that Bobby Jindal’s response to Obama’s sort-of-a-state-of-the-union speech last night was a remix of conservative “greatest hits,” the same points raised over the last month by Republicans in Congress in debate of the stimulus bill. […]

  5. […] If you didn’t watch last night, you have probably heard this morning that Bobby Jindal’s response to Obama’s sort-of-a-state-of-the-union speech last night was a remix of conservative “greatest hits,” the same points raised over the last month by Republicans in Congress in debate of the stimulus bill. […]

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