Lugar Statement on Stimulus Package

U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar made the following statement this evening on the Senate’s consideration of the economic stimulus package:

"I support responsible, targeted action to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, encourage exports, and assist those who have been impacted by the downturn in the economy. While there were several provisions in the stimulus bill before the Senate that I supported, on balance, a heavy package of spending proposals that could not take effect for years does not achieve these goals. Regrettably, the package does make certain that our children will face hundreds of billion dollars of additional debt.

"The stimulus bill considered by the Senate is a sprawling affair, with massive spending for a wide variety of projects, some of which are completely unrelated to the immediate economic challenges before us.

"Further, the bill contains provisions that threaten to undermine the very economic growth it purports to stimulate, placing American businesses and their workers in danger of trade-based retaliations and escalating financial protectionism.

"The U.S. Treasury Department estimates that new net borrowing could increase more than three times from $788 billion in 2008 to as much as $2.5 trillion in 2009. This is more than 10 times greater than the level in 2006 or 2007. This raises serious questions as to whom in what countries around the globe will buy our bonds to cover this debt, especially with hostile trade provisions in place. Already, more than half of our treasury debt obligations are held by foreigners, most significantly by China and Japan, who are also facing financial difficulties."

The Senate voted 61-36 this evening to end debate of the bill and is scheduled to take the final vote on the bill tomorrow. Lugar voted against ending debate.