Senators to Debate Stimulus Bill Monday

The Senate spent about three hours Saturday debating the economic stimulus package. Monday they will continue the debate, and a vote as soon as Tuesday might come. The stimulus is trimmed to $780 billion, according to CNN.

Unfortunately, energy efficiency will receive less, with a $3.5 billion cut from $7 billion to make federal buildings more energy efficient. The Environmental Protection Agency Superfund will receive $600 million instead of $800 million. Funds for a federal fleet of hybrid vehicles were cut in half from $600 million.
Energy loan guarentees totaling $1 billion were cut completely, as was $1.2 billion for retrofitting Project Eight housing.

During President Obama's weekly address he said, "The scale and scope of the plan is right." He reminded the American people that using a "losing formula that offers only tax cuts as the answer for all our problems" will not work. The stimulus package, according to Obama, will save or created three million jobs.

Democratic Senators defended the stimulus package. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (NJ) said, "An investment today means an opportunity for tomorrow. It improves the functioning of our society. The economic recovery act will do those things today so that in years ahead we can educate our kids, keep them healthy."

The Democratic Whip, Sen. Dick Durbin (IL) said, "We're going to work this out. It's a large bill and we have a limited amount of time...We have to do something quickly, boldly."

Republican Senators have continued to complain about the size of the stimulus, reminding the American people of the federal deficit. Sen. Jim Risch called the stimulus a "giant fraud on the American people."

During a Senate debate earlier in the week, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham waved the bill around, saying, "look at this bill." Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer (CA) called waving the bill around "theatrical," and asked Graham if he did that "when George Bush was president and he sent down a bill twice as big as that?"

Spending massive amounts on infrastructure and other projects to stimulate the economy goes back to British John Maynard Keynes, a famous economist whose theories somewhat influenced former President Franklin D. Roosevelt's economic policies. However, in 1934 Keynes visited Roosevelt and spoke to him about spending more. According to a New York Times article last month, Roosevelt was "either unimpressed or uncomprehending." As a result it took the massive spending on World War II to revive the American economy.

A Harvard economic professor told the New York Times he hopes "Obama is going to do better" than Roosevelt did. New York University professor, Richard Sylla said there is a lesson to be learned from Roosevelt, namely that "the government has to do much more than it has doen so far."


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