e-News February 19, 2009

1. Frelinghuysen Letter on Economic Stimulus Plan
2. House Republican Leaders Ask President Obama for Housing Details
3. Spread the eNews

This week, the House and Senate are in "recess" for President's Day Weekend.

Frelinghuysen Letter on Economic Stimulus Plan
Enclosed is Rep. Frelinghuysen’s response to a Daily Record editorial of February 16 about the economic stimulus package.

Dear Editor:

I read with disbelief your recent editorialNo Sure Thing, regarding my principled opposition to the “economic stimulus” package just signed into law.  But before you accuse anyone of “playing politics” by voting against a bill designed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid to reward their own constituencies, please answer several questions:

If private sector job creation was truly their goal, shouldn’t this bill have devoted more than six percent of the total package to road, highway, bridge, mass transit, and Corps of Engineers projects?  And if we wanted get the most “bang for the buck,” then why is every project nationwide subject to the Davis-Bacon Act, meaning only union contractors need apply!

Is it wise to allow billions upon billions of dollars in funding to be funneled through Trenton while freezing our freeholders and mayors out of the process?

Doesn’t handing $53.6 billion to states that have done little or nothing to control their own spending or debt encourage more of this same behavior?

Will creating 33 entirely new spending programs create private sector jobs or just hundreds of thousands of new federal and state bureaucrats?

Is it sensible to dramatically increase spending in agencies ill-prepared to distribute the funding efficiently especially when Speaker Pelosi has yet to finish last year’s appropriations bills?

Does anyone actually believe that this surge in non-emergency domestic spending will be temporary?

If small business is the job creation engine of our economy and employs almost half the people in this country, then why did this bill contain a paltry $3 billion in incentives and tax relief for small business in a package approaching $800 billion?

How does it benefit our economy to weaken the very foundation of the historic, bipartisan welfare reform program of the 1990’s - a genuine work requirement?

Should we be using an “economic stimulus” bill to further increase government involvement in health care by putting bureaucrats - not doctors - in charge of medical choices for families and seniors?

And how will current employers be affected if they have to foot the bill for years for an expensive expansion of COBRA, a program that lets the unemployed retain access to their former company health benefits? Is it a good idea to have taxpayers subsidize half the cost for millions of COBRA recipients?

And because each and every dollar in this bill will be a “borrowed” dollar, should we feel no obligation to future generations who must repay this enormous debt?

No, my opposition to the stimulus package had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with a desire to see a better, more efficient bill that addresses the current crisis of job loss with real jobs immediately, not by padding every domestic program under the sun with more dollars than can ever be spent responsibly.  The sad reality is that the Pelosi-Reid bill turned out to be a bloated package filled with non-emergency, non-stimulative Washington spending.

I favor an economic stimulus bill, maybe not this one, but I sure hope this plan works! Our nation and citizens are counting on it!

House Republican Leaders Ask President Obama for Housing Details
On Wednesday, House Republican leadership sent a letter to President Obama requesting information on his recently announced Housing Plan:

Dear Mr. President,

We want to personally thank you again for your willingness to listen to the ideas put forward by Republicans in Congress during the stimulus debate.  Although we were unable to support the final spending bill crafted by Congressional Democrats, we remain encouraged by our discussions and ledge to continue to seek common ground, whenever possible, as we move forward to address the economic challenges facing our nation.

While we look forward to getting into the details of your housing plan, we wanted to provide you with a list of key questions that many of our colleagues believe are essential to understanding how your plan will balance the needs of homeowners who require immediate assistance with those individuals and institutions who took unnecessary risks that may have contributed to the current housing crisis.


  1. What will your plan do for the over 90% of homeowners who are playing and paying by the rules?
  2. Does your plan compensate banks for bad mortgages they should have never made in the first place?
  3. Will individuals who misrepresented their income or assets on their original mortgage application be eligible to get the taxpayer funded assistance under your plan?
  4. Similarly, will you require mortgage servicers to verify income and other eligibility standards before modifying mortgages?
  5. What will you do to prevent the same mortgages that receive assistance and are modified from going into default three, six, or eight months later?
  6. How do you intend to move forward in the drafting of the legislation and who will author it?

Thank you for your efforts on behalf of all Americans.  Along with our colleagues, we look forward to working with you to develop a responsible plan that protects the interest of taxpayers, aids struggling homeowners, and moves forward to achieve a speedy economic recovery.

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