Top House Democrat says $862 billion stimulus was ‘too small’

Jon Ward Contributor
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Rep. George Miller, one of the top-ranking Democrats in the House, said Tuesday that the $862 billion stimulus bill passed in 2009 by President Obama and congressional Democrats was not big enough, and should have been over $1 trillion.

“The stimulus was too small,” Miller, a California Democrat who is one of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s top lieutenants, said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown.”

Miller said that some economists at the time, in early 2009, were calling for a stimulus of more than $1 trillion.

But, Miller said, “everybody knew you couldn’t go there,” because the number was too politically toxic.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, responded to Miller’s comments.

“The trillion-dollar Stimulus bill was supposed to be timely, targeted and temporary. Yet here we are, a year and a half later into the Democrat economy, and some in Washington are already coming back for tens of billions more,” McConnell said in a statement e-mailed to The Daily Caller.

“It’s time to change course, it’s time to do something that will actually create lasting private sector jobs and get us moving in the right direction. And with a record $13.3 trillion national debt, Washington needs to start listening to the concerns of the American people rather than trying to force them to go along with more spending and more debt and more job-killing taxes and regulations on small businesses.”

The stimulus was originally estimated to cost $787 billion when it was passed and signed into law by Obama as his the first major piece of legislation in his presidency. But in January, the Congressional Budget Office revised that cost estimate upward to $862 billion.

Miller raised the specter of a double dip recession now as the economy is slowing once again and unemployment remains high.

“The deep concern across the ideological frame is whether this pause is another downward leg,” Miller said.

Miller said that the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 by President George W. Bush should be extended, but only for those making $250,000 or less a year.

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