Friday, January 21, 2011

Republican Mayor: The Stimulus Package ‘Worked,’ It’s ‘Unfair’ For House GOP To Attack It


Yesterday, the House GOP lawmakers quickly manufactured an unwieldy proposal to axe $2.5 trillion from the federal budget. In a tribute to zeal, Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) new Spending Reduction Act not only scraps 15 percent of federal jobs but also eliminates “all remaining stimulus funding.” Because, as they say, this is what the American people want.

Unfortunately for Republicans, the American people don’t live in their delusion. They live in states and cities — both of which depend on the Recovery Act and will get hosed by this repeal. Bristling under the GOP’s out-of-touch demonization of the Recovery Act, even Republican mayors like Tulsa, OK Mayor Dewey Bartlett are pointing out just how “unfair” a repeal of the Act would be. Speaking at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in DC yesterday, Bartlett”it worked“:

“I would prefer them to at least give us an opportunity to use them for another reasonably supportive project,” Bartlett said.

In Washington for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Bartlett again made positive comments about the impact of the 2009 stimulus package, which was opposed by every Oklahoma Republican in Congress.

“It worked,” said the mayor, who is also a Republican.[...]

Bartlett conceded he did not know whether any of Tulsa’s funding would be covered by the proposal but made it clear he did not favor a repeal.

“To me, that seems a little unfair,” he said.

Bartlett pointed to specific Recovery projects — “crime, public safety, energy and environment, poverty and infrastructure projects” — and the “Inner Dispersal Loop state project to improve access to downtown Tulsa” that helped Tulsa “come out of the recession.”

While at odds with the conservative anti-stimulus mantra, Bartlett is certainly not alone. Today, more than 230 mayors attending the Conference called for “a second wave of stimulus money.” Forced to “impose layoffs furloughs, service reductions and fee increases to deal with falling municipal revenue,” the mayors, many of whom are Republicans, said “cities are being deprived of the federal aid owed to them.” Burnsville, MN Mayor Elizabeth Kautz, also a Republican, said “We are in the middle of a ‘jobs emergency’ that demands decisive and swift action.” “We need the Senate to pass a Main Street jobs package now,” she insisted.

The 4.5 million people kept out of poverty and the millions employed because of the Recovery Act might be inclined to agree. So would the numerous GOP governors who used these funds to balance their budgets if they weren’t so wedded to hypocrisy. And at least 114 of the GOP lawmakers who wanted to eliminate this “wasteful” stimulus package were only too happy to take credit for its successes. But, it seems the House GOP is hellbent on marching forward in their delusion, even if it means trampling on the economic recovery to do so.

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