House Republicans on Sunday doubled down on their opposition to Democrats’ stimulus spending as their colleagues prepared to return to Washington from recess this week to vote on a $26 billion aid package.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press," House Minority Leader John Boehner claimed, “The American people are screaming at the tops of their lungs to Washington, stop. Stop the spending, stop the job killing policies and yet the democrats from Washington refuse to listen.”
Boehner even suggested pulling the plug on the stimulus bill altogether to prevent the expenditure of the estimated $400- to 500-billion which hasn’t yet been spent.
And Republican Indiana Rep. Mike Pence pointed a finger at what he sees as heavy-handed Democratic tactics. “This has been the my way or the highway administration from the stimulus bill forward,” said Pence on “Meet the Press.” “Democrats on Capitol Hill and in this administration have slammed the door on republican ideas, have slammed the door on bipartisan proposals.”
Re-convening the House during a recess is nothing new. It’s happened several times, including two years ago for the auto bailout and in 2005 for Hurricane Katrina relief.
A final House vote on the state aid bill is expected Tuesday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday that the House will reconvene for a vote on the $26 billion state aid bill aimed at saving the jobs of teachers and other public employees, while giving the states a helping hand with Medicaid.
The bill’s supporters say the funds, part of the $682 billion stimulus package, will save at least 140,000 teachers from being laid off.
President Obama said Friday, “Speaker Pelosi says she's going to bring the House back in session to pass this bill, and as soon as they do I'm ready to sign it into law.”
The House had adjourned without expecting they’d get a chance to extend this state aid, which expires at the end of the year. But last week the Senate was able to win the support of Maine’s two moderate Republicans, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, giving Democrats the votes they needed to pass the legislation. That meant the House would have to return to give its approval.
Democrats call it a “jobs bill” and will tout its benefits on the campaign trail. Republicans characterize it as more wasteful government spending. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell addressed the timing of the vote by insisting, "This bill is a brazen attempt to funnel more money to public employee unions before an election at a moment of record deficits and debt.”
Steve Centanni currently serves a Washington-based national correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined FNC in 1996 as a general news reporter.