Republicans decry stimulus package

Feb. 14, 2009 at 3:07 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- The $787 billion economic stimulus bill that cleared Congress this week is bloated, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said Saturday.

Delivering her party's weekly radio address, Murkowski said Republicans supported a stimulus bill that was about half the cost and was targeted at helping the ailing housing market by lowering struggling buyers' monthly mortgage payments, The Hill reported Saturday.

Instead, the Democrat-led Senate rejected that proposal and passed a bill that directs $500 billion in federal spending on infrastructure, education, public housing along with $287 billion in tax relief, including a $70 billion one-year freeze of the Alternative Minimum Tax.

The Senate passed the 1,073-page bill Friday 60-38 with the help of three Republican votes. The House passed the conference report with no Republican support, the newspaper noted.

"Republicans have been supportive of a stimulus plan all along," Murkowski said. "Yet, over the past few weeks, a serious difference of opinion has emerged over what an economic recovery plan should include. Democrats, it seems, settled on a random dollar amount in the neighborhood of $1 trillion and then set out to fill the bucket. Republicans, on the other hand, thought that we should figure out what was at the root of the problem, and then see how much it would cost to fix."

President Barack Obama is expected to sign the stimulus package Monday.

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