Republicans did not vote for stimulus

January 28, 2009 7:21:02 PM PST
A warning came from the president on Wednesday the United States does not have a moment to spare. President Barack Obama says the economy needs immediate help.

This afternoon the U.S. House passed the Democrat's economic stimulus package, without the help of a single Republican vote. The price tag is staggering $819 billion and more than $32 billion of that will be spent right here in California.

The vote count was 244 (D) to 188 (R). No Republicans voted for the measure. Eleven Democrats voted against, but even with those defections House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) had the numbers she needed.

"On this vote the yeas are 244 the nays are 188 the bill is passed without objection a motion to reconsider is laid upon the table," said Speaker Pelosi.

It was the end of a full day of debate with Republicans arguing the $819 billion plan was too expensive.

"All it is is really a short term fix for our addiction to spending," said Rep. John Duncan (R) of Knoxville, Tennessee.

And Democrats argued its merits.

"This package that's coming before us today is actually doing something for the American people," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D) of Portland, Oregon.

What most didn't see is that very few lawmakers were actually in the chamber to listen to the debate, in spite of the president's call to come together. The House remains divided on this legislation, split along party lines.

"With this vote today we are taking America in a new direction," said Speaker Pelosi.

From the $819 billion, California stands to gain $32.6 billion. To break it down, $5.6 billion will be spent on education, $2.7 billion for highways and bridges, and $1.46 billion for supplemental nutrition assistance or food stamps.

"This is money that people need and the good news is low income people will spend this money there's no chance that this is going to be socked away," said San Francisco Food Bank's director Paul Ash.

California is also expected to get $11 billion in Medicaid assistance. At the women's Community Clinic in San Francisco Medicaid payments account for one quarter of their annual budget.

"And this infusion of cash is essentially going to save folks who are losing insurance and really in a desperate state," said Carlina Hansen, from the Women's Community Clinic.

From the taxpayer-funded Capitol Studios Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D) of Oakland says Republicans had their say in crafting the bill.

"I serve on the appropriations committee for example and we spent nine hours marking this bill up and there were many Republican amendments that we're accepted. The negotiations were very bipartisan and when you look at the way President Obama has approached this it's been in a very bipartisan fashion," said Lee.

The stimulus plan now moves to the Senate, which has its own version of the package, and where Republicans presumably will have much more of a say.