The House passed an $825 billion economic stimulus bill Wednesday night but without the sweeping bipartisan support sought by President Barack Obama.
The final tally, 244-188, reflected the message being pushed by House GOP leaders onto the rank and file in recent days: Oppose this pork-laden, partisan package that wont create jobs. In the end, every Republican and 11 Democrats voted against the plan.
Obama lobbied hard in recent weeks to bring Republicans on board for the bill and pledged to weigh their ideas. But GOP leaders insisted on big changes and unveiled their own separate plan driven by tax cuts and no new spending.
We thought we were going to have bipartisanship here. None of that has happened, Budget ranking member Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said before the vote. While the Democrats bill contains some tax cuts, all the rest is spending. Just plain old spending, Ryan said.
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the package may be well-meaning but its not going to create jobs. He pointed to specific wasteful provisions in the bill, such as $300 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to do whatever.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) praised lawmakers for acting swiftly and boldly to pass the emergency package, which has the support of 146 eminent economists, including five Nobel Prize winners.
Pelosi noted Democrats accepted at least one bipartisan amendment to the bill: a measure by Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Todd Platts (R-Pa.) aimed at reducing waste, fraud and abuse of tax dollars.