We must change the core of this stimulus bill, not pick at the margins

As almost everyone following the debate surrounding the Senate stimulus bill will tell you, this is not a job creation bill; it’s a massive government spending bill.

Yesterday, I introduced an amendment to remove wasteful spending from the stimulus bill. My amendment would remove almost $47.6 billion in funding that is not focused on creating jobs to help stimulate the economy.

By targeting the removal of approximately $30.4 billion in direct spending and striking a union-backed Davis-Bacon provision to save more than $17 billion in inflated construction costs we can start to trim the overall cost of this bill.

(The Heritage Foundation estimates that the costly union provision would add an additional $17 billion to the total cost of the stimulus bill because Davis-Bacon requires all construction projects to be performed at wage levels well above the market’s demand – especially as it is relative to different regions of the country, like my home state of Louisiana, for example.)

Some argue that a good portion of the funding in the stimulus has been set aside for worthy programs, but this ever-growing stimulus bill is not the venue for these projects to be considered. Like I said on the Senate floor last night, we can debate and address some of these worthy measures another day, another time and in another bill.

The American people have been told that this bill will help stimulate our ailing economy and it should do just that. But we’re not going to get out of this recession by removing small and medium-sized fish barriers – just to cite one example.

Here are just a few other examples of the wasteful spending in the current Senate stimulus package:
• $20 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove small and mid-sized fish barriers
• $1 billion for the 2010 census
• $600 million for the federal government to purchase energy efficient vehicles
• $500 million for NASA climate change studies
• $850 million to bail out Amtrak
• $100 million for the Department of Defense to purchase hybrid vehicles
• $2.25 billion for groups engaged in neighborhood stabilization programs, such as ACORN and other entities

Those examples listed above are traditional Washington spending projects – pure and simple. They are about pursuing pet programs – building big government and beautifying government buildings – instead of creating new jobs.

The Senate has a duty to change the core of this bloated stimulus so that it addresses real job creation, and this amendment would be a good start as an act of good faith for the American people.