Enzi says ‘NO’ to trillion dollar bill jammed through Congress
Spending bill passes without a single Republican voting for it
by Senator Enzi's office
February 13, 2009
(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., spoke against the one trillion dollar spending package that the House passed Friday and the Senate was expected to pass Friday night.
Enzi said a bad bill was made even worse when House and Senate leaders stripped out the one measure that would actually have done some good for the U.S. economy by helping struggling home owners.
"I didn’t think it was possible, but after waiting until late last night to finally receive the text of this trillion-dollar economic bailout legislation, the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader took a horrible bill and made it even worse. Where are the housing fixes? Housing is where our problems began and it’s where they will end. This bill does not contain housing fixes, but it does contain more pork and other federal spending than any legislation in the history of the United States. They’ve maxed out the federal credit card and didn’t even include real housing fixes. Unbelievable," said Enzi.
The Senate voted and is expected to pass H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly referred to as the stimulus package, tonight. The House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 246-183. Seven House Democrats joined every Republican in voting against the measure. Enzi voted against the bill because it excludes a home buyers tax credit and other housing solutions, spends money the government doesn’t have on projects it doesn’t need, and provides clearer pathways for the federal government to increase its control of healthcare and other sectors of the economy.
"This legislation is the single most expensive bill in the history of the United States and is being sold to the American people as a ‘compromise.’ Buyer beware.
"I’ve been a member of the U.S. Senate for 12 plus years and in my experience finding only 3 members of the minority party to support legislation and involving them only at the end of the process is not compromise. It is not bipartisan in the slightest. I want legislation both parties can support because the economic crisis we are in is not a partisan problem. Unfortunately, the legislation we have before us is partisan and reads like a list of liberal priorities bundled together that could not gain support individually. It is a wish list they couldn’t pass for the last 20 years because they couldn’t find the money."
Rationing health care?
The spending package creates a $1.1 billion comparative effectiveness research program, which Enzi said will, "evaluate which health care treatments are cheapest for the government - not what works best for patients," and could limit patients’ access to new and innovative therapies.
"The comparative effectiveness provision is a Trojan horse for the federal government to develop methods and infrastructure for rationing health care. This provision creates a new, secretive Washington bureaucracy not accountable to individual patients. The bureaucracy, not the patient will have the power to make decisions about which treatments folks can and can’t have. Taking these life decisions out of the hands of doctors and patients and putting them under the thumb of Washington is a terrible idea," said Enzi.
"They have a program like this in the United Kingdom, where they cut costs by restricting access to new, innovative and sometimes medically necessary treatments. That’s not the kind of health care reform the American people want."
"I won’t support spending money we don’t have for projects we don’t need. I am leery of spending one time money on programs that will have to continue. These will be continuing payments, not temporary payments. This bill doesn’t even fit with the President’s expectations of being timely, temporary and targeted and Democratic leadership has made no real effort to make it conform," said Enzi.
The full text of Enzi’s floor statement is available on his website, http://enzi.senate.gov.