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Camp Floor Statement: H.R. 1 Conference Report

February 13, 2009


Mr. Chairman, every Member of this House believes we should and must act to get this economy growing again, to help struggling families and employers through this global economic crisis.

Action for the sake of acting will mean little to families if is not accompanied with positive results.  This morning, we awoke to a spate of headlines suggesting what was worked out behind closed doors and what we still have not been able to fully review will – given its $1.1 trillion price tag – do more harm than good.

From McClatchy News Service: “Will the stimulus actually stimulate? Economists say no.”

From the Associated Press: “Analysis: Stimulus won’t jump-start economy.”

From the Congressional Budget Office (and as the chart behind me shows): This partisan stimulus package ends up harming our economy.

Again, while it is clear we must act, we must ensure the action we take actually stimulates the economy and lays the foundation for real, sustained job creation in the private sector. 

There is a smarter, simpler way to stimulate the economy.  It is not by running up the deficit by funding pet projects that are often wasteful.

As you well know, we produced an alternative to both the Senate and House versions that would create twice the jobs at half the cost.  Let me repeat that: Republicans developed a plan that created twice the jobs at half the cost. 

That isn’t my analysis, or some conservative think tank’s analysis, that FACT is based on the data and methodology of Dr. Christina Romer, the Chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors.

Now, I would be remiss if I did not point out to my Republican and Democrat colleagues exactly how they were treated in this process.  As one of five Members of this House who was appointed to the Conference Committee, it is my obligation to tell you this story:

As I walked from the House to the Senate for our first meeting of the conferees, I passed a press conference being held by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announcing a final deal had been struck by Senators and only by Senators. 

This is the first conference I have ever been on where the press conference announcing the results happened before the actual meeting.  So, I can understand why Speaker Pelosi was reportedly incensed.  The People’s House should not be trampled on. 

We were frozen out.  The American people were frozen out.  And, as Chairman Rangel noted, many Democrats were frozen out.
This is what happens when a select few negotiate behind closed doors: you end up with flawed legislation that better reflects the priorities of a few Democrat than those of the entire country.

Under this new deal we are being presented today the so called middle class tax cut – the signature tax cut – has been reduced to 20-cents an hour for a full-time worker.

One of the few provisions to help struggling businesses was more than cut in half by shortening the length of the relief and making thousands of employers ineligible for this relief.

The work requirements within the historic 1996 Welfare reform law – the hallmark legislation of President Clinton and the Republican Congress – has been eroded.

And, the “stealth health” provisions will drive costs up and have the government making more health care decisions for doctors and patients.

Given the severity of the crisis American families are facing, to conduct the People’s business in this fashion may be the grossest violation of our Constitutional duties and the oath of office we swore to uphold that I have seen in my nearly 20 years in the House.