California Democratic Congressman Mike Honda, a member of the Budget and Appropriations Committees, told The Daily Caller that Democrats in Congress passed the $825 billion Recovery Act because they “didn’t know what the hell was going on” with the economy. He also said that Congress needs to “increase our deficit right now” by passing more stimulus spending.
TheDC asked Rep. Honda of the Congressional Progressive Caucus about similarities between the proposed American Dream for the 99 Percent Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009.
Watch the interview from Capitol Hill:
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“The stimulus bill, which was under the other administration, was put together because we didn’t know what the hell was going on and you know, and we were trying to do things that we thought might help stimulate the economy,” he told TheDC at the Capitol.
“We set aside quite a bit of money for what we call ‘shovel ready projects’ which we thought would create jobs right away but it didn’t. It took a few more months and so and predicting unemployment, the 8 percent, the 9 percent — that could have been anything from people looking, continue to get, look for part time jobs or employment.
“It’s a prediction that people would have that’s – it’s not pure science.”
Honda continued, “We know that if we invest money into this economy and get cash into people’s hands, they’ll spend it and once they start spending the money, it starts to circulate through our economy and it’ll stimulate the economy and we’ve done this other times before. It [The 99 Percent Act] will increase our deficit but we need to increase our deficit right now to make that investment and make that place so that we can get this thing started.”
In total, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Recovery Act will “increase budget deficits by about $825 billion over the 2009–2019 period.”
Like Honda, President Barack Obama told KIRO-TV in Seattle that he did not understand “how bad” the economic situation was when he took office.
“I think we understood that it was bad, but we didn’t know how bad it was,” Obama said. “I think I could have prepared the American people for how bad this was going to be, had we had a sense of that.”
Honda also dismissed critics who suggest that unless the direct funding of jobs with federal taxpayer money through a stimulus package is continuous, they are lost. “These tax dollars go to private industry,” he responded. “It goes into public entities like cities and counties so that they can turn around and create jobs at their own level.”