Archive for the ‘Dave Camp’ Category

Missing from Congress’ stimulus negotiations: transparency

February 14, 2009

“The longer a piece of garbage lays out in the sun the worse it stinks,” said Republican Representative John Culberson (R-TX), refeering to the Obama stimulus.  “That’s why the bill was hidden and  kept off the Internet.”

“This is a crime of deceit put upon the American people,” he said.

“This bill was intentionally hidden from lawmakers and the public.”

“This is one of the largest outrages ever committed,” said.

“Nobody read this bill before it was passed,” he said.


President Obama has indicated he wants Congress to conduct its work in the open. But in this first test case, ‘he’s pleased with the process and the product,’ a spokesman says.
By Peter Nicholas
Los Angeles Times
February 14, 2009
Reporting from Washington — Upending Washington’s entrenched ways of doing business is proving tougher than President Obama may have assumed.

The nearly $800-billion stimulus bill served as a test case.

During the campaign, Obama released a position paper stating his commitment to open government. As president, he said, he would not only insist on transparency in his own administration, he would press Congress to revamp its practices as well.

Obama has no constitutional authority to set rules for Congress, but he suggested he would use his influence to see to it that Congress doesn’t conduct its work “in the dead of night and behind closed doors.”

Heavy reading 

HEAVY READING: House GOP leader John Boehner shows a copy of the massive bill, which he and every other Republican in the House opposed, along with seven Democrats. Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

In the first major piece of legislation pushed by Obama, transparency was missing.

Important negotiating sessions devoted to the stimulus took place in congressional offices, outside public view. Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) said he was in a meeting about the stimulus plan Tuesday night in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). Among the participants was White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

“We had to do some hard bargaining,” Waxman said.

The abundance of private deliberations made for some comical moments.

Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) was walking through the Capitol on Wednesday on his way to a public meeting in which senators and House members were supposed to hash out differences over the stimulus. As he passed the Rotunda, Camp spotted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) holding a news conference announcing that a deal had already been struck.

“This is the largest spending bill in the history of the United States, and I believe the public business should be done in public,” said Camp, who had been appointed to the 10-member conference committee created to reconcile differences between the two chambers.

“President Obama made that commitment repeatedly in his campaign,” he said.

Obama aides say that the president is still committed to transparency in government.

He reiterated the pledge during the transition, posting a promise on his website to “restore the American people’s trust in their government by making government more open and transparent,” and cited closed conference committee sessions as a practice ripe for overhaul.

But the White House isn’t apologizing for how the stimulus bill was handled. Given the dismal economic climate, White House aides said, the country needed a stimulus bill — fast.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, asked about the private negotiations, said that Obama wasn’t troubled.

“He’s pleased with the process and the product that has come out,” Gibbs said while briefing reporters Friday. “I think when the process is done, the American people will be proud of the product that we believe and we hope will begin to stimulate the economy.”

Democratic leaders said the bill was handled according to procedures and customs that have been in place for years, including when Republicans controlled Congress.

Waxman said Congress’ treatment of the bill was fairly standard. Could Congress have demanded that all negotiations play out in public? Waxman said that would have been impractical.

“There are too many moving parts in this bill,” Waxman said. “We would be sitting in an open conference committee meeting for weeks, if not a whole month, to process all the amendments that would have been offered.”

Will Obama Stimulus Create Jobs? Many “Experts” Can’t Say (Or Say No…)

January 22, 2009

Ranking minority member Dave Camp (R-MI) asked “experts” such as  Thomas Barthold, Acting Chief of Staff, Joint Committee on Taxation, about job creation in the  proposed stimulus bill. 

See Video:

“There’s some real concern about the high cost of it versus the jobs created,” said Michigan Rep. Dave Camp, the senior Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee. Mr. Camp said Republicans haven’t had any role in shaping the recovery package. “I don’t think the president wants a partisan-only bill,” he said.


From The Wall Street Journal:

As President Barack Obama’s $825 billion economic-recovery package began making its way through Capitol Hill, congressional budget analysts suggested a key plank of the plan may not provide as big a near-term lift for the economy as expected.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected less than half of the $355 billion that House Democrats want to spend on highways, bridges and other job-creating investments is likely to be used before the end of fiscal 2010. The CBO said the balance would likely be spent over the next several years, after the recession is projected to end.

Republicans said the analysis shows that the package, which Democratic leaders drew up with top Obama aides to boost the ailing economy, wouldn’t create the promised jobs. “Clearly, we’re not talking about a stimulus bill,” said Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, the second-ranking House Republican.

Republicans asked for a meeting with Mr. Obama to discuss alternative measures that could be applied, including additional tax cuts.

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