Sen. Michael Bennet became the first Democrat Wednesday to oppose President Obama’s new economic stimulus proposal for not using unspent stimulus funds to pay for it. Obama proposed $50 billion in new infrastructure investment at a speech in Milwaukee on Labor Day.
“I will not support additional spending in a second stimulus package. Any new transportation initiatives can be funded through the Recovery Act, which still contains unused funds. Public-private partnerships that improve our infrastructure are a good idea, but must be paid for, should not add a dime to the deficit, and should be covered by unused Recovery Act dollars,” Bennet said in a statement.
Of the $787 billion in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, $275 billion has yet to be paid out, according to Recovery.gov.
President Obama endorsed Sen. Bennet — Bennet ran ads during the primary showing clips of the endorsement — in his bid to maintain his seat. Obama also taped a robocall in support of Bennet. Now, Bennet is running in a tied race against Republican Weld County D.A. Ken Buck, who calls the stimulus “counterproductive” for its “huge new debt.” Bennet appears to be trying to neutralize Buck’s anti-deficit message.
Bennet did agree with the president’s other economic proposals, including making a $100 billion research-and-development tax credit permanent and $200 billion for companies to deduct the full cost of capital investment next year.