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December 2nd, 2010

Latham: It’s Time to Rescind Funds from the Failed Stimulus

By Iowa Congressman Tom Latham
Iowa’s 4th Congressional District

Supporters of the Stimulus bill promised in early 2009 that the legislation would cap unemployment at 8 percent and spark an economic recovery.  Nearly two years later, all the Stimulus has to show for itself is an expanded federal government and a national unemployment rate of nearly 10 percent.  The recovery we were promised didn’t materialize, and Congress is long overdue to correct its mistake.

That’s why I decided this week to co-sponsor H.R. 6403, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Rescissions Act.  If signed into law, H.R. 6403 would stop unspent stimulus dollars from going out the door. This legislation is an important step toward cracking down on the wasteful spending and debt that have been hallmarks of the Stimulus bill.

The Stimulus package, as it stands, is a failure due to its focus on creating and expanding government programs rather than real job creation aimed to spur economic growth. For instance, the legislation would have been far more effective if there had been a greater emphasis on infrastructure projects such as road and bridge repair, airport enhancements, water and sewer line repair, as well as a number of other national projects that would have immediately put Americans to work. Of the legislation’s $814 billion total, a meager 7 percent was allocated to transportation infrastructure, and only 3.8 percent of the funds went to highway needs.  In the short time that my colleagues and I were given to review the bill, I worked to quadruple those amounts.

This misappropriation of funds shortchanged America’s real needs in favor of a massive expansion of the national debt and the federal government. The passage of the Stimulus package illustrates what many Iowans and other Americans are saying about how out of touch Washington has become.

The Stimulus package clearly is not doing what it was intended to do. These funds must be rescinded, especially at a time when federal debt is at record levels and climbing. I’m co-sponsoring the American Recovery and Reinvestment Rescissions Act because it’s a critical step toward reining in out-of-control government spending and changing the culture in Washington to encourage private sector job growth and fiscal restraint.

Photo by Dave Davidson

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The Iowa Republican

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