H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was not a stimulus bill; it was a vehicle for pet projects. It was done by cover of night, without ANY input from the other side of the aisle, and without full disclosure to the American people. In fact, during the first week of February, every Member of Congress voted on a resolution to make every bill available for 48 hours online so that the American people could read it; that never happened. Despite a House vote of 403-0 that Members of Congress and the public should have 48 hours to review every bill, the Majority’s 1,073-page stimulus bill was not made available until 11:00 p.m., less than 12 hours before floor consideration. That is no way to legislate and frankly, no way to run a government. Even the most efficient reader would have a hard time reading all of that in less than 12 hours.
Equally appalling was the sheer cost of this legislation, $792 billion. According to the Federal Reserve, this is almost as much money as is currently in circulation. For this enormous price tag, this bill provides only $1.10 per day in relief to workers, not even enough for a ½ a gallon of gas, while saddling every American family with $9,400 in added debt to be paid by our children and grandchildren. Thus, this huge cost begs the question, where is all the money going? Below is a partial list of some of the spending included in this bill. Some of it seems justifiable, while most of it does not.
- $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
- $2 billion for the Neighborhood Stabilization Fund, providing funds to organizations such as ACORN, which has been accused of practicing unlawful voter registration in recent elections
- $10 million for the inspection of canals in urban areas
- $300 million for the Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program
- $2 billion to support the manufacturing of advanced vehicle batteries
- $1.3 billion for Amtrak, including $450 million for a new rail security grant program not included in either the House-passed or the Senate-passed bills
- $300 million for federal procurement of plug-in and fuel efficient vehicles
- $15 million for historic preservation at historically black colleges and universities
- $170 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to research the causes, effects, and ways to mitigate climate change
- $200 million for Americorps and other paid "volunteerism" programs
- $400 million for NASA to accelerate climate research missions
- $5.5 billion for federal buildings, including $4.5 billion to convert federal buildings into "high-performance green buildings" and $450 million for a new headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security.
- $142 million for the Coast Guard to alter or remove 4 obstructive bridges
- $25 million for the Smithsonian Institution for maintenance backlogs
- $1 billion for expenses in conjunction with the 2010 decennial census
- $650 million for Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupons
- $1 billion for a Prevention and Wellness Fund, which can be used for sexually transmitted disease (STD) education and prevention programs at the CDC
- $500 million to replace a 30-year old computer system at the Social Security Administration