President Obama came to the Republican mountain, but he didn't manage to move it. In his much-anticipated meeting with the House minority, the new leader tried to soften opposition to the $1.1. trillion stimulus package. Obama did concede on one of the Republicans' largest complaints--the hundreds of millions of dollars in contraception. He stripped that provision, along with a beautification project for the National Mall, but neither compromise did much to ease Republicans' minds. Like us, they see the "recovery package" not as stimulus but as a major pork-and-payoff bill that quietly authorizes the most controversial pieces of Obama's social agenda.
Although the legislation passed this evening 244-188, the GOP did set in motion a new era of opposition, voting unanimously against a bill that would take government into the final frontiers of universal health care and federalized education. In the face of the most popular incoming President since JFK, Republicans stood together in statement of solidarity. We applaud them for showing real backbone against unprecedented government expansion.
As the veil begins to drop from the shady elements of the stimulus, more people are beginning to understand what's at stake. Today's New York Times reads, "Stimulus Offers Road to Retooling Social Policy" with "little notice and no public hearings." We thumbed through the 1,588 page H.R. 1 and found plenty of waste. Obama offers: $600 million to buy "green" cars for government workers; $400 million to help NASA conduct climate change research (which ranks dead last on Americans' priorities, according to a new Pew poll); $4.1 billion for "neighborhood stabilization activities," for which ACORN (the Democrats' get-out-the-vote machinery) would be eligible; and even $227 million to oversee the pork spending in the stimulus (Page 11). Medicaid would expand for the poor, the uninsured, and the unemployed, opening the doors to universal health care. And the bill would more than double the Department of Education's current budget.
Swimming against the liberal tide isn't easy, and House Republicans need your encouragement to stay motivated for the work ahead. Please call the leader in your district today and thank them for refusing to back down on H.R. 1.
Family Research Council, www.frc.org
FRC Blog: Not Quite a Stimulus: Speaker Pelosi's Payoffs and Pork Bill