House Passes Stimulation Bill

In a swift victory for President Barack Obama, the Democratic-controlled House approved a historically huge $819 billion stimulus bill Wednesday night with spending increases and tax cuts at the heart of the young administration's plan to revive a badly ailing economy.

The vote was 244-188, with Republicans unanimous in opposition despite Obama's frequent pleas for bipartisan support.

"This recovery plan will save or create more than 3 million new jobs over the next few years," the president said in a statement after the House voted. Still later, he welcomed congressional leaders of both parties to the White House for drinks as he continued to lobby for the legislation.

Whole AP report, via the Cincinnati Enquirer, here. Note: All GOP members and 11 Dems voted against it. Keep up the good work, fellas: Even the Obama folks have acknowledged that most of the jobs promised by bankrupting America even more than the Bush admin did won't come online any time soon (defined as sometime in 2010 or 2011), if at all.

There's a number of Republicans who have signaled they'd vote for a bill more heavy on "stimulus" (i.e. pork project they prefer) and across-the-board tax cuts. Not clear yet what the vote will be in the Senate, where an even larger bill looms, though one assumes passage given the partisan numbers.

And get ready for more pithy exchanges such as this one:

Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, sought to strip out all the spending from the legislation before final passage, arguing that the entire cost of the bill would merely add to soaring federal deficits. "Where are we going to get the money," he asked, but his attempt failed overwhelmingly, 302-134.

[Rep. David] Obey [(D-Wis.)] had a ready retort. "They don't look like Herbert Hoover, I guess, but there are an awful lot of people in this chamber who think like Herbert Hoover," he said, referring to the president whose term is forever linked in history with the Great Depression.

Note to Obey: Hoover massively expanded government spending and signed into law a horrible protectionist piece of legislation known as Smoot-Hawley. At the same time, he used the bully pulpit to hector businesses into keeping wages and prices high which only made it harder for a puffed-up economy to go through a painful but transitory adjustment. Given what you just passed and all the anti-China rhetoric coming from the White House, what exactly are you guys planning on doing differently?

Note to Republicans: Given your fecklessness when in power and serving under a GOP president, most of you have zero credibility when it comes to your newfound spines and concern for fiscal restraint. Work hard to gain back whatever smidgen of credibility by being consistently against big government and not just against big government Democrats.

And go here to watch President Obama's press secretary Robert Gibbs give a completely unconvincing explanation on today's Good Morning America of what the stimulus bill will do. Note the time frame for everything, which is pushed far enough in the future so that no accountability need apply.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Howard Dean was on CNBC a little while ago, talking about this, and the fact that the Republicans all voted "nay".

    His analysis: "Those guys just don't understand how you win an election."

  • jtuf||

    Part of the new Republican back bone comes from being out of power. It's easier to oppose the government when the opposition leads it. Part comes from congress rep learning their lesson when conservatives sat home and let them slide in the voting booth. Part comes from the new makeup of the Republicans in congress. Most of the RINOs lost their seats in the past election. With the deadwood gone, most of the Republican reps are conservative from heavily conservative districts.

  • ||

    What the hell do we even do in the face of this?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Work hard to gain back whatever smidgen of credibility by being consistently against big government and not just against big government Democrats.

    Not gonna happen, Nick. Just take whatever crumbs you can get.

  • A T||

    Good night, and good luck, America.

  • Jerry||

    If this stimulus bill is so great, why doesn't Obama hold a press conference in support of it, instead of sending out his lackeys onto the airwaves. At least Obama would then be able to keep up the notion that his government is about "transparency."

  • Randall||

    So what, exactly, is the exit strategy from this Stimulus Plan?

  • ||

    Don't sell your guns

  • libertarian democrat||

    What can we do in the face of such an immensely destructive force?

    At least we are winning the (so moderate they shouldn't even be questioned) battles on some civil liberties.

    But really, what can we do if our government turns so strongly against us?

  • Johnny Nowhere||

    So what, exactly, is the exit strategy from this Stimulus Plan?

    That would be Phase Three: Profit!

  • sage||

    Oh great, you had to go and mention Smoot-Hawley. Now Mr. Nice Guy will come along and bellyache about that.

    "Do you people have to remember every single thing?"

  • Reinmoose||

    It's like sitting back and watching... nevermind. There's nothing quite like this.

  • Jeff P.||

    I knew a guy in college named "Stimulation Bill"...

  • Elemenope||

    Oh great, you had to go and mention Smoot-Hawley.

    Well, FWIW, it did seem both gratuitous and oxymoronic. After all, so far as I can tell, there is nothing about trade, trade policy, or tariffs in the "stimulus" bill.

  • zoltan||

    I was listening to someone in the lobby at work this morning and he went something like: "Like Phil Gramm said, we will fight this thing until it passes and then we will fight tooth and nail to get as much of it for Texas as we can." Part of me agrees with this kind of thinking, but considering Texas's strong economy in comparison to the rest of the Union, I don't want anyone attributing that to government pork. On a side note, the officials from the city of Laredo are staying here and their block has 87 room nights at $200 bucks a pop plus 15% tax--all of this going on the city's ledger. Pork, indeed.

  • ||

    The GOP shitheads have no spine. Don't even pretend that they do. Put an R after Obama's name and they'd line up to spit-polish his dick. We have big government parties only, they just want their big government and not the other guy's.

  • DADIODADDY||

    I feel stimulated already...it's like a tingling feeling going up my leg

  • sage||

    Huh. You think the materials for all those infrastructure projects will come from the best deal around? Or from politically connected steel states, for instance?

  • ||

    We are so fucked.

  • DADIODADDY||

    Elemenope
    ...it did seem both gratuitous and oxymoronic...

    You just described the Congress (under any administration)

  • ||

    Obama's new press secretary already bugs me more than Ari Fleischer.

  • Seward||

    Elemenope,

    Oh, I am sure it can be linked to free trade somehow.

    Also, it wouldn't surprise me if there were "buy American" provisions in this stimulus package.

  • ||

    Put an R after Obama's name and they'd line up to spit-polish his dick. We have big government parties only, they just want their big government and not the other guy's.

    All of which, plus the fact that the Democrats were guaranteed to have a majority in Congress, was a good reason for not voting for Obama.

  • ||

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/28/AR2009012804002.html?hpid=topnews

    Seward, never fear, there are plenty of buy American provisions. The article linked above shows that they are already generating controversy.

  • Russ 2000||

    Shovel ready infrastructure project apparently don't include health care:

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=32794

  • robc||

    The GOP shitheads have no spine.

    Some of them do. Well, on this one issue. The ones that voted against Bush's package too.

  • Invisible Finger||

    At least Obama would then be able to keep up the notion that his government is about "transparency."

    He IS transparent. He's the invisible man, his suit only LOOKS empty but there's a transparent individual inside of it.

  • Invisible Finger||

    So what, exactly, is the exit strategy from this Stimulus Plan?

    Hope.

  • Invisible Finger||

    but considering Texas's strong economy in comparison to the rest of the Union, I don't want anyone attributing that to government pork.

    As if Texas' strong economy has nothing to do with pork from the prior administration.

    Keep up the denial.

  • ||

    After all, so far as I can tell, there is nothing about trade, trade policy, or tariffs in the "stimulus" bill.



    Well, only if you don't count the "Buy American" provisions for iron and steel in (Sec. 1110(a)).

    "None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for a project for the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of a public building or public work unless all of the iron and steel used in the project is produced in the US."



    It's on page 12 of the PDF.

  • zoltan||

    I'm not sure what kind of pork is keeping our 4-bedroom homes at a hundred grand.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    "Well, FWIW..."

    Ele and MNG, separated at birth?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    FWIW, I'm taking advantage of this shitstorm to refinance my home and home equity account at 4.5% fixed. Come the Great Inflation, I figure I'll be sitting pretty.

  • zoltan||

    I take that back--the kind of pork that would "keep" our houses so cheap might be any kind of welfare given to immigrants, illegal or not, thus allowing them to work for lower wages.

  • ||

    And the Senate version contains more "Buy American" provisions.

    But don't worry, on the campaign trail, President Obama already repeatedly in speeches, campaigns, and ads (that ran mostly in the Midwest) suggested that Sen. McCain was unpatriotic and put other countries first for calling Buy American provisions "disgraceful."

  • ||

    Ah yes, Texas benefits from the "pork" of having fewer stupid homebuilding and zoning restrictions than other states, thus avoiding the housing bubble.

  • Jerry||

  • zoltan||

    John Thacker, I was trying to come up with some pork that was causing that. I don't think Texas really gets all that much anyway. Thankfully the one place in Texas where the housing bubble was--Austin--is now popping, though I think this has more to do with demand than anything else.

  • ||

    Watching Boner blather all over the boob tubes is not exactly intellectually inspiring, either.

  • ||

    Good to know that no matter what happens you all are still here yelling impotently into the internet cloud.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Jerry||

    The New York Times is going along the Obama bailout story, just as they did with the Bush WMD story, some things just never change i guess.

  • Naga Sadow||

    I'm gonna phrase this like most commenters here phrase the war in Iraq. What's our exit strategy? Pullout timetable?

  • ||

    Howard Dean was on CNBC a little while ago, talking about this, and the fact that the Republicans all voted "nay".

    His analysis: "Those guys just don't understand how you win an election."


    He also said he thinks the government could actually make money on the toxic assets it will be overpaying for in the "bad bank" scheme. I doubt he really believes it, but he knows the voters are probably that dumb.

    He's right though. You toss people some bread and circuses and free health care, and who cares if they give billions or trillions to the banks?

  • ||

    Bah! Tags! Let's try this again:

    Howard Dean was on CNBC a little while ago, talking about this, and the fact that the Republicans all voted "nay".

    His analysis: "Those guys just don't understand how you win an election."



    He also said he thinks the government could actually make money on the toxic assets it will be overpaying for in the "bad bank" scheme. I doubt he really believes it, but he knows the voters are probably that dumb.

    He's right though. You toss people some bread and circuses and free health care, and who cares if they give billions or trillions to the banks?

  • Naga Sadow||

    I think I'm gonna hold off on investing for a little while.

    *Places earnings in jars and burys them in yard*

  • ||

    Hey Naga, why don't you invest in a 2009 Camaro? That's got to be a good investment, right? What does that have, like, 210 HP?

  • Mike M.||

    And go here to watch President Obama's press secretary Robert Gibbs give a completely unconvincing explanation on today's Good Morning America of what the stimulus bill will do. Note the time frame for everything, which is pushed far enough in the future so that no accountability need apply.

    This is of course why Obama is spending so much time and energy begging the Republicans for support on this that he doesn't really need: to provide him with cover so he can try and pathetically pin the blame on them when it doesn't do anything.

  • ||

    zoltan,

    Sorry, it was difficult for me to tell if you were being sarcastic or not. Texas is doing pretty well, at least with the housing issue, like a few other states (North Carolina is one) because of reasonable housing laws that avoid much of the idiocy elsewhere in the country. No, they're not perfect, nor are they perfect on eminent domain, but any honest libertarian should admit that TX housing regulation is better and helped it avoid the bubble that was one fundamental cause of the current crisis.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Epi,

    2011 Z28 my friend. 450 hp. These days I believe that . . . er . . . priorities have shifted me to thinking of a Lexus instead.

  • ||

    450? My, my. Things have changed. But a Lexus is always the better choice.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "And go here to watch President Obama's press secretary Robert Gibbs give a completely unconvincing explanation on today's Good Morning America of what the stimulus bill will do. Note the time frame for everything, which is pushed far enough in the future ..."

    ... that the economy will have improved on it's own by then and they will try to claim credit for it anyway.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Epi,

    I have been coming round to that conclusion for a while now. Emotion was pulling me away from reason.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    I'd say that the (until recently) run up in oil and gas prices has something to do with the relative outperformance of Texas vs other states.

  • Elemenope||

    ... that the economy will have improved on it's own by then and they will try to claim credit for it anyway.

    If that's true then what are you bitching about?

  • ||

    450 hp? If that thing wasn't such a lead-plated turd, it wouldn't need 450 hp.

    Dig up some of those jars and buy a Porsche.

  • S. Love||

    Here's REAL stimulation:

    http://www.saddlebacking.com

  • ||

    Porsche will still be in business, ten years from now; unlike a certain Ward of the State we could mention.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Not to knock you P Brooks but who knows? Too much money is flowing around and I don't have a clue where most of it is going now. I at least had a good idea where it was going now . . . I have no idea. All the same, I'm gonna just save up my money . . . just not in banks. Trouble is I don't even want to invest in damn index funds anymore.

  • ||

    Porsche will still be in business, ten years from now; unlike a certain Ward of the State we could mention.

    Porsches are pieces of shit. Cool pieces of shit, but pieces of shit nonetheless. If I want a piece of shit I'll go full retard and get a Jag. Otherwise: Lexus.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "If that's true then what are you bitching about?"

    You'll have to elaborate on that because that question makes no sense.

  • zoltan||

    Blech, Lexuses are like iPods in Austin. Everybody has one.

  • Reinmoose||

    Dude, get an Audi R8

  • ||

    You seem to have your German marques confused, Epi; Mercedes Benzes are shit. And, as much as I once loved them (I have owned four), you couldn't *give* me a new BMW.

  • Elemenope||

    You'll have to elaborate on that because that question makes no sense.

    Sure it does. You just all but claimed that stimulus *or* no stimulus, the economy will recover anyway. So why do you care? Is it about credit?

  • ||

    you couldn't *give* me a new BMW.

    My cousin had a BMW Bavaria. Toughest car I have ever seen. We would jump it (all 4 wheels off the ground), race it, and generally abuse the shit out of it, and it just kept going. That thing could take 5.0 Mustangs up hills with a 6-cylinder engine with--get this--dual carburetors. BMW can make a good car. At least, they used to.

  • ||

    So why do you care?

    *clutches head, leaps off roof*

  • The Wine Commonsewer (you can ||

    House Passes Stimulation Bill

    Just remember, when they're all done stimulating you'll still be a victim of frigid wife syndrome, Baby.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Sure it does. You just all but claimed that stimulus *or* no stimulus, the economy will recover anyway. So why do you care? Is it about credit?"

    I shouldn't care about the government wasting close to $1 trillion dollars of the taxpayers money on something that will actaully do nothing more than redistribute a lot of wealth in ways that liberal democrats like?

    Please explain why I shouldn't care about that.

  • ||

    Note to Republicans: Given your fecklessness when in power and serving under a GOP president, most of you have zero credibility when it comes to your newfound spines and concern for fiscal restraint.

    QFMFT!

  • Elemenope||

    Please explain why I shouldn't care about that.

    What? A trillion dollars? But, but, but...I thought it wasn't even real money!!!

  • ||

    Explain to the AMERICAN people how giving over 5 billion dollars to Obama's Acorn, helps the economy?

  • ||

    Hey look Obama's congress can spend faster then Bush's congress...

    Looks like joe will be eating crow.

  • ||

    As if Texas' strong economy has nothing to do with pork from the prior administration.

    Johnson?

  • ||

    Explain how American tax dollars, will be spent on abortions overseas helps our economy?

  • ||

    Elemenope | January 29, 2009, 9:53am | #

    Oh great, you had to go and mention Smoot-Hawley.

    Well, FWIW, it did seem both gratuitous and oxymoronic. After all, so far as I can tell, there is nothing about trade, trade policy, or tariffs in the "stimulus" bill.



    scott clark | January 29, 2009, 10:09am | #

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/28/AR2009012804002.html?hpid=topnews

    Seward, never fear, there are plenty of buy American provisions. The article linked above shows that they are already generating controversy.


    John Thacker | January 29, 2009, 10:17am | #

    After all, so far as I can tell, there is nothing about trade, trade policy, or tariffs in the "stimulus" bill.
    Well, only if you don't count the "Buy American" provisions for iron and steel in (Sec. 1110(a)).
    "None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for a project for the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of a public building or public work unless all of the iron and steel used in the project is produced in the US."
    It's on page 12 of the PDF.



    LMNOP, Time for a mea culpa.

  • Invisible Finger||

    "This recovery plan will save or create more than 3 million new jobs over the next few years,

    Impossible. The country doesn't even have 3 million people that could pass the drug tests.

  • Elemenope||

    LMNOP, Time for a mea culpa.

    I suppose so.

    "I was wrong."

  • ||

    Elemenope wrote:
    What? A trillion dollars? But, but, but...I thought it wasn't even real money!!!

    It's ok, because Obama is using Hope and Change Currency which is available in endless amounts and bypasses normal monetary processes. If Obama were using real dollars then spending a trillion on condoms and Acorn as a "stimulus package" would be utter insanity. But since he's paying in hope and change, no worries.

  • ||

    Ah Ha, now I understand whats going on - a new era of government activism!!

  • ||

    So now that they have absolutely no power, having previously had all of the power, the Republicans vote unanimously against an absurd spending increase.

    Well played gentlemen...

  • ||

    Played well in indeed by the inseparable twins!

  • Sir Meatgoggles||

    Saddlebacking: sad•dle•back•ing \ˈsa-dəl-ˈba-kiŋ\ vb: the phenomenon of Christian teens dumb politicians engaging in unprotected anal sex unprecedented levels of spending in order to preserve their virginities Keynesian naivete.

  • ||

    "By a continuous process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method, they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some....The process engages all of the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner that not one man in a million can diagnose." - John Maynard Keynes Economic Consequences of the Peace, 1920

  • wizard of oz books||

    With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement