Rep. Inslee: Save Spending in House Version

By Teri Finneman

Feb 10, 2009 3:06pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein and Gregory Simmons report: For a glimpse of how difficult stimulus negotiations are likely to be between the House and Senate, Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., offered some interesting views about where things stand on ABC NewsNOW’s "Politics Live" Tuesday.

"I agree with Nancy Pelosi that we ought to retain in the House, particularly the parts that have the capacity to build jobs over the long term, particularly the clean energy parts that can build the new clean energy, green collar jobs that we know can sustain us not just for the next few weeks but for the next several decades," Inslee said. "So I’m particularly dedicated to retaining those during the negotiation. But like any other negotiation, we’re gonna come out in the middle somewhere. The country demands it. We’re gonna produce a product."

He continued: "And they’ll be some tax cuts, which I’m frankly less enamored with because they’re not nearly as stimulative. We know that when you do a tax cut you get credit card payment debt paid down, you get savings but it doesn’t create the job creation that we really need. Will there be a dollar [amount] in there to appease the Senate? Probably. That’s what you call democracy."

One area he and many Democrats are particularly committed to preserving: school construction funding.

"I don’t know what the ideological hang up is with some of my Republican brethren about this. It is pure ideology. Somehow they think we are back in 1953, you know, before Brown vs. the Board of Education, somehow that feds can’t get involved in educational policy," Inslee said. "We are long past that ideological divide. We know that we can put people to work. But the way, it’s not just school construction. It is green school remodeling so we can improve the energy efficiency of these buildings. Right now, we’re spending thousands of dollars for wasteful spending losing energy that leaks out the windows of these schools. Let’s get these construction workers that are laid off by the hundreds of thousands right now in weatherizing of our schools so they’re not a sieve for energy and taxpayers don’t have to pay for that wasted energy cost. That’s a no brainer. We ought to get that job done. I’m really glad the President has drawn a line in the sand on that one."

On the bill’s overall scope: "You know this did not come down from Moses on stone tablets. I think that this is about where we should be and when you come to a cliff, and it’s 15 feet wide, it’s better to jump 16 feet than to jump 14 feet and end up at the bottom. I think we’re in the right ballpark. We should pass this bill and get it done."

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