Congresswoman Kay Granger today expressed her disappointment after voting against the final version of the spending package that has been at the center of much of the debate since President Obama took office. 

“I am disappointed in the final version of this spending package,” said Granger. “There was so much discussion at the beginning that we would focus solely on items that would provide an immediate jolt to our economy. Instead, we have a bill that fails to fund a significant amount of ‘shovel ready’ infrastructure projects and provide additional relief to small businesses.”

Much of the discussion has centered on the price tag of the spending package – bouncing between $819 billion to as high as $930 billion before settling at over $790 billion. Included in the bill were items Granger deemed worthy, but not projects that would stimulate the economy. Instead, she believes the bill should have focused on tax relief for individuals and small businesses as well as a sufficient amount on transportation and water infrastructure projects that could provide new jobs almost immediately – including new jobs in North Texas.

Granger is a strong advocate of giving relief to small businesses, which account for about 85 percent of the economy. In the final version of the bill, only a tiny fraction was dedicated to relieving the tax burden on small businesses. Reducing the tax rate for these small businesses would immediately free up funds for them to retain workers and hire new ones.

“Small businesses are the first to recover during periods of economic turmoil,” said Granger. “Helping small businesses is a necessary step in any stimulus package, but the Democratic leadership’s bill doesn’t empower small businesses; it empowers the government.”

Communities and the public were led to believe that transportation and water infrastructure projects would make up the bulk of the bill.  Communities were excited and started to make plans.  However, Granger and many others were shocked to learn that a relatively small share of the total $792 billion package is devoted to transportation infrastructure — $47 billion, or 5.9 percent, and only $27.5 billion, or 3.4 percent, for highway construction.

“You can imagine my disbelief when I learned that less than 10 percent would be dedicated to a sector that offers a true stimulus to the economy and could create hundreds, if not thousands, of new jobs in North Texas,” said Granger.

The lack of transparency was another reason for Granger’s disappointment.  The House of Representatives voted unanimously earlier in the week to post the final version of the bill on the Internet and allow the public to view the bill for at least 48 hours before a vote. However, in reality, Members had less than a day to review the bill before voting. Included in the bill were items like $2 billion for the Neighborhood Stabilization Fund, providing funds to organizations such as ACORN, as well as $700 million for controversial “comparative effectiveness” research that could lead to health care rationing.

“I hesitate writing a check for $100. The Democrat leadership wrote a check for almost $800 billion without batting an eye when this bill will have long-term consequences,” said Granger.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an analysis of the stimulus bill noting it was bad for the economy over the long-term. The CBO concluded that the size of the stimulus package will crowd-out private investment and result in an actual decrease in the Gross Domestic Product.

“We got in this mess because people and institutions took on debt they could not afford,” Granger said. “This bill makes the same mistake.” 

This week alone the Obama administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress pledged almost $3 trillion in new spending. The Treasury Department laid out its plan for spending the remaining TARP funds and for increased financing from the Federal Reserve.  The stimulus package Granger voted against totals more than $1.1 trillion when you factor in interest. Granger believes that these commitments will have severe long-term consequences that will impact several generations to come.