President-elect Obama has made it clear that one of his first priorities when he takes office will be an economic stimulus package that could reach around $800 billion. Top economists have said that such investment — in areas such as infrastructure, health care, energy, and education — is essential for boosting the economy. As Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman has stated, the “risks of being too small are much bigger than the risks of being too big.”
Despite the urgency after eight years of the Bush administration doing nothing, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is now saying that he and his fellow conservatives are in no rush to provide this important economic relief and plan to put the brakes to attempts to quickly pass a package. From a statement he issued yesterday:
As of right now, Americans are left with more questions than answers about this unprecedented government spending, and I believe the taxpayers deserve to know a lot more about where it will be spent before we consider passing it.
According to the Washington Post, McConnell has also “called for a weeklong cooling off period between when the bill is drafted and when it is voted on, allowing time to dissect it for signs of ‘fraud and waste.'” Conservatives have the power to filibuster the legislation if they oppose it.
McConnell, however, had no problem quickly passing President Bush’s Wall Street bailout, even though that package had almost no oversight safeguards. In fact, as McClatchy reported, McConnell “led the battle” to pass the bill.