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Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today voted against the more than $1,000,000,000,000 ($1 Trillion) deficit spending bill before the U.S. Senate. Senator Thune made the following comments:

"America is facing serious economic challenges that demand real solutions rather than a business-as-usual Washington spending spree. Rather than being a timely, targeted and temporary stimulus bill, this is nothing more than a bloated Washington spending bill that is slow, unfocused, and unending.

"The last thing struggling American families and small businesses need is billions of dollars worth of pork-projects that do little to create the amount of jobs needed to get the economy going again. This legislation represents the largest inter-generational transfer of debt in history and will saddle our children and grandchildren with significant debt. Sadly, Democrat leaders chose to reject almost all Republican attempts to improve this legislation."

This costly spending bill will add over $1 Trillion dollars to the national debt and, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), will slow the rate of growth of our economy over the next ten years.

Recap of Stimulus Consideration in the Senate

Defying conventional wisdom, the Senate bill totaled $838.2 billion not including interest, which is $18.7 billion higher than the bill that passed the House of Representatives. Including interest, the total cost of the bill is approximately $1.2 trillion.

While Senate Democrats rejected numerous common-sense amendments to improve the bill, Republicans advocated a host of amendments to better protect taxpayer dollars and to improve the stimulus bill to ensure that it was targeted to addressing our economy's biggest needs.

Examples of Republican amendments that failed to receive a single Democrat vote, include:
  • Vitter (#140) would have removed more than $26 billion of the most wasteful spending in the bill. (Vote failed 32-65.)

  • Thune (#238) would have prohibited funding for any program that was not authorized before February 1, 2009, effectively eliminating any new program. CBO stated that new programs have much slower spend-out rates than existing programs. (Vote failed 35-62.)

  • Inhofe (#262) would have added $5.2 billion for Defense procurement with a full offset from some of the most wasteful provisions in the bill. (Vote failed 38-59.)

  • DeMint (168) The "American Option" plan would repeal the AMT, make current capital gains and dividends rates permanent, reform the death tax, make the Child Tax Credit and marriage penalty relief permanent, consolidate deductions, and would reform the income tax into 3 rates: 10%, 15%, and 25%. (Vote failed 36-61.)

  • McCain (#279) would have removed the Buy American requirement from this bill. Even President Obama suggested Buy America requirements could start "trade wars". (Vote failed 31-65, Lieberman supported.)

  • Thune (#197) would have used tax relief, unemployment benefits, and home price stabilization to create twice as many jobs at half the cost, according to President Obama's chief economic advisor. (Vote failed 37-60.)

  • McCain (#364) alternative plan would have focused on tax relief and infrastructure development as well as housing stabilization. (Vote failed 40-57.)

  • Bunning (#242) would have suspended for 2009 tax increases on Social Security benefits that Congress passed in 1993. (Vote failed 39-57.)

  • Thune (# 538) to provide tax rebate of $5,143 for single filers and $10,286 for married couples who file jointly and earn less than $250,000. (Vote failed 35-61.)

  • One Exception: McCain (#278) would have reinstated Gramm-Rudman-Hollings to require spending cuts from appropriated monies in this bill upon 2 consecutive quarters of positive GDP growth. (Vote failed 44-53, 3 Ds supported, Bayh, McCaskill, Nelson (NE).)
GOP Improvements to the bill:
  • Coburn (# 109) struck a $246 million tax earmark for Hollywood. (Vote agreed to 52-45.)

  • Isakson (#106) provided a one-time $15,000 tax credit for a purchase of a principal residence. (Agreed to by voice vote.)

The Senate bill will now be reconciled with the spending measure that was passed by the House of Representatives over a week ago. Once conference negotiations between the two legislative bodies conclude, the final bill will require an additional vote in each body before it can be sent to the President for his consideration.

Examples of Wasteful Spending:
  • $2.5 billion to turn Federal buildings into "green" buildings (p. 94 of Manager's Amendment)

  • $1 billion for the U.S. Census (p. 37 of Manager's Amendment)

  • $850 million in new subsidies for Amtrak (p. 204 of Manager's Amendment)

  • $750 million to the Social Security Administration for a new computer center (p. 149 of Manager's Amendment)

  • $650 million in additional funds for digital TV conversion boxes (p. 39 of Manager's Amendment)

  • $645 million for new and repaired facilities at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (p. 41 of Manager's Amendment)

  • $448 million for the headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security in Washington (p. 95 of Manager's Amendment)

  • $300 million for new cars for government workers (p. 96 of Manager's Amendment)

  • $228 million to the State Department for information technology upgrades (p. 190 of Manager's Amendment)

  • $125 million for the Washington DC sewer system (p. 93 of Manager's Amendment)

  • $75 million for the Smithsonian Museum (p. 124 of Manager's Amendment)

  • $3 Million Tax Benefit For Golf Carts, Electric Motorcycles and ATVs (That Don't Exceed 25mph): (Pg.474 of the Collins-Nelson Amendment, ")