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Boehner Outlines GOP Views on Obama’s Stimulus Plan

House Minority Leader John Boehner outlined his views of President-elect Barack Obama's stimulus plan Thursday, criticizing the size of the spending packages and saying the focus should be on providing quick relief to families and small businesses.

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  • MARGARET WARNER:

    Leader Boehner, welcome. Thanks for coming.

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), House Minority Leader: I'm glad to be here.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    When the Democrats unveiled their $825 billion stimulus plan, their blueprint today, you came down to the press gallery and said, "Oh, my God."

    Can you elaborate?

  • HOUSE MINORITY LEADER JOHN BOEHNER:

    I — I looked at this package over lunch, right before I went to the — the press gallery.

    And there's over a half-a-trillion dollars worth of spending. And it looks like 14 years worth of liberal Democrat ideas that were stuck in the back of a cabinet somewhere. And it's not the kind of spending, in my view, that will stimulate our economy, create jobs, and, more — even more importantly, preserve jobs that are out there today.

    I just believe that, if we're going to help American families and small businesses, we need to leave more money in their hands, tax less, let them make good decisions with what they can do with more of their own money to create jobs and keep jobs.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    But were you really surprised? I mean, isn't the scope of it pretty much what President-elect Obama has talked about?

  • HOUSE MINORITY LEADER JOHN BOEHNER:

    Oh, no, no, no. This is — this is nothing like the president-elect has talked about.

    And, frankly, we're working with him. He's asked for our ideas. We have been working to develop those ideas and are sharing those ideas, frankly, as we speak.

    But the president understands that we need to stimulate the economy, not stimulate our government. And, if you look at the over $500 billion worth of spending, a lot of it's going to fix up federal buildings, and — and $6 billion to community action programs to do weatherization programs.

    It's just more of the same kind of wasteful spending that we have seen in the past. I was really — I was shocked.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    But you have…

  • HOUSE MINORITY LEADER JOHN BOEHNER:

    And that's what why I said what I said.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    You have picked out fairly small little pieces of this. What about the big, broad categories? I think there are $90 billion for infrastructure, roads and sewers and bridges.

  • HOUSE MINORITY LEADER JOHN BOEHNER:

    No, no, no, well, there's $30 billion for — for roads.

    And, frankly, I think these are ready-to-go projects that really can help. I think some of the water and sewer programs, revolving programs or loan programs are probably solid infrastructure kind of things that — that we can use.

    But, if you look at a lot of the spending, it's — it's not going to create jobs. And that's what this plan is intended to do — except that it doesn't do it. And the level of — of tax reductions that are — that's in this package are less than the president-elect has called for.

    So, we have to remember, now, this is the congressional Democrat plan. This isn't Senator Obama's plan. And, so, I'm hopeful that we are going to continue to work with him to move a package quickly that is responsible, that will help preserve jobs and create new jobs.