One of the most bitter opponents of the economic stimulus package is House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), who has repeatedly claimed that the stimulus is “failing.”
Yesterday in an interview with CNBC’s Erin Burnett, Cantor floated the idea of canceling the rest of the economic stimulus and using the money to pay off debt:
CANTOR: Since we know now that the Stimulus has not met the criteria by which it was passed and the White House promoted it, which was to stave off job losses and to stop unemployment from reaching above 8.5%, since we know it’s been a failure, why not do the responsible thing, which is to take the $400 billion that has not been committed yet – or not been spent, but been committed to the stimulus – and just pay off the debt and deficit so we can get our fiscal house back in order?
While Cantor might think that he can score political points by posturing on the stimulus, his constituents continue to benefit from its funds. Last month, Cantor hosted a job fair in Midlothian, VA, where the economic recovery package created dozens of jobs. Additionally, Chesterfield County, where the fair was being held, will receive more than $38 million in stimulus funding over the next two years. Were that money to be paid towards the national debt instead, tens of millions of dollars would have to be taken away from promised funding for higher education, special education, food stamps, and other essential public goods.
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) made the same suggestion last July, despite the fact that his state has received billions of dollars in stimulus funding that has provided much-needed relief to Arizona’s health and education systems.
While conservative members of Congress continue to slam the stimulus — even while hypocritically touting its effects in their own districts — the Wall Street Journal reports today that the stimulus appears to be “helping the US climb out of the worst recession in decades.”