GOP Charges Stimulus Bill Will Make States Dependent on Federal Money

Posted April 23, 2009 at 2:44pm

Republican Senators on Thursday warned that the money funneled to the states via President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package is creating a culture of dependency, which in turn could lead to nationwide financial difficulties over the next two years.

The $787 billion stimulus bill signed into law in February included billions of dollars for the states to balance budgets and fund health and welfare programs, including state Medicaid programs. Republicans charged that several states are using the money to permanently grow these programs and warned that governors are likely to come to Washington in two years in search of more money.

“I think in terms of fiscal responsibility, these folks will be down here asking us for more money,— Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) said at an afternoon news conference. Voinovich — a former governor — was joined by another ex-governor, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), as well as Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.).

The three Republican Senators issued this warning — they proposed no action — after being briefed by the Government Accountability Office.

Thune’s interpretation of the GAO’s message on this issue: “If you’re a state government, it’s windfall today, train wreck tomorrow.—

The Senate trio also was critical of the number of jobs created by Obama’s stimulus package, arguing that the results so far have been weak and far less than the White House projected.