For Release: February 11, 2009
Contact: David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or
or [email protected]
Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie Calls on Lawmakers to Make Sure the Most Controversial Aspects of the Stimulus Plan Were Removed During the House-Senate Conference
Washington, D.C. - Mychal Massie, chairman of the Project 21 black leadership network, is calling on lawmakers in both chambers to ascertain that the most controversial aspects of the stimulus were removed by the House-Senate conference before either chamber moves to a vote on the final legislation.
"I submit that the urgency articulated by the Senate leadership and the Obama Administration is simply an attempt to have this egregious bill passed before its contents can be fully unearthed," said Project 21's Massie. "Despite the claim there are no earmarks in the bill, there are certainly enough pet projects that have been inserted into it by other means that many lawmakers are celebrating Christmas in February."
"As lawmakers convene to hammer out a final spending package," Massie suggested, "now is the time for cooler heads to prevail and for some of the more wasteful spending and partisan policies to be removed."
The Senate bill is estimated by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to cost around $838 billion. The House version has an estimated cost of about $819 billion.
There are also new questions about language in the Senate version that would require the medical records of all Americans to be centralized in a federal database. This database, defended as a means of streamlining treatment, would create a federal bureaucracy that might monitor and advise doctors on how they can treat individual patients.
In a commentary distributed by Bloomberg.com on February 9, former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey suggests the language comes from a plan outlined in a book written by disgraced former Health and Humans Service Secretary-designate Tom Daschle. Daschle wrote favorably about formulaic European health boards that ration health care. In his book, Daschle suggested slipping such a proposal into must-pass legislation because "[t]he issue is too important to be stalled by Senate protocol."
There is also concern that over $5 billion in Community Development Block Grants, the Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program and Neighborhood Stabilization Programi n the Senate bill could eventually be funneled to questionable special interest groups such as ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) - a group implicated in voter fraud and the creation of the conditions that precipitated the mortgage crisis.
"There is every reason to believe this so-called stimulus is nothing more than thinly-veiled attempt to nationalize healthcare, fund special interest allies such as ACORN and shovel pork back to lawmakers home states," said Massie.
"It's surreal that this bill passed the same day Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner presented muddled, undefined plans for spending the rest of the bailout funds approved last year" Massie added. "The first stimulus bill did not work, and it is understood that another 'stimulus' will likely be needed after this one. How many more of these salacious abominations will it take before it's considered to be enough? How much more debt will we be saddled with in this vain attempt to make these unworkable solutions work?"
Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or [email protected], or visit Project 21's website at www.project21.org/P21Index.html.