Congressman Seeks Significant Improvements
to Critical Economic Stimulus Legislation
U.S. Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today voted against the House version of the economic stimulus package.
The ailing national economy is undeniably in need of direct, targeted action that will put American workers back to work and restore confidence in our markets. Unfortunately, the legislation presented to the House today is merely a makeover of special programs and non-critical, non-job related projects that unquestionably miss the mark at the expense of helping families and small businesses. It is all sizzle and no steak and, thus, I cannot support the legislation.
I have previously and will continue to support many provisions within the House package, including the extension of unemployment benefits, strengthening Medicaid, transportation infrastructure funding, and tax cuts. However, in examining the totality of the package, these worthy programs were inexplicably paired with non-essential spending that will not meaningfully stimulate the economy. Additionally, the fleeting attention and lack of substantial investment in shovel-ready transportation projects in New Jersey which are proven to create hundreds of thousands of jobs is deeply disappointing.
Furthermore, select businesses and programs critical to South Jersey’s economy are explicitly shut out from receiving federal funds. Included in the House bill is a prohibition against any casino-related projects, including employment hiring and retention programs or infrastructure projects that would improve access to the Atlantic City properties. For the same reasons I opposed the repeated bailout bills, it is exceptionally unfair to rescue one industry while allowing the further deterioration of another. Casino workers and their families should not be treated any differently than any other household affected by the economic downturn.
I support the President’s call for an economic stimulus package that will immediately and positively benefit struggling families and our nation’s economy. The House bill falls short on providing relief for the middle class while going too far on extraneous spending. I hope the Senate corrects the House’s shortcomings and the final legislation presented to Congress represents the intentions and real need of an economic stimulus package.
While supporting each on their own merits, LoBiondo signaled out the following examples of provisions within the House bill that do not meet the explicit requirements of immediately stimulating the economy:
$1.9 billion for high-level physics research;
$1.5 billion for universities to improve their biomedical research programs;
$600 million for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to purchase new satellites to improve weather forecasts;
$600 million to buy new cars for federal government workers, adding to the existing inventory of 640,000 vehicles; and,
$335 million for education and prevention programs regarding sexually transmitted diseases.
The Senate is currently considering its own economic stimulus package which, if approved, will be reconciled with the House version and presented to the Congress.