Rep. Denny Rehberg, in Kalispell to host an economic roundtable at Flathead Valley Community College, stopped by the Beacon office Wednesday afternoon. The Republican congressman is traveling the state following his vote against the $789-billion economic stimulus plan that President Barack Obama signed Tuesday.
We will be writing more about Rehberg’s visit in the coming days, but I wanted to post some excerpts from our interview. In case you missed it, I did the same following Democratic Sen. Jon Tester’s visit Tuesday.
From the Rehberg interview:
On why he opposed the stimulus:
“What I suggested to (Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi and the leadership was that essentially where this was heading was beyond economic stimulus. That they were attempting to do more …”
“There were going to be two avenues to take: Was the president and the majority party going to address the crisis with an economic stimulus package or were they going to use the crisis to do more from a social engineering standpoint? And they took the second approach.”
On if the bill was rushed:
“The bill was dropped on us [the U.S. House] at 11 o’clock at night. I would have had to read each and every page in that bill in 24 seconds or less. That’s how much time we had.”
On Montanans’ response to his ‘no’ vote:
“As I travel around, and walk around, nobody has come up to me and said ‘you should have voted for it’ … But I’m getting a lot of attaboys, a lot of pats on the back and a lot of thank yous.”
On the additional debt the stimulus creates:
“With South Korea and Japan not buying our debt and China starting to have some of the stress on the international economic front, who’s going to buy our debt?”
“… What it means is you’re going to have to pay more to sell your debt to someone. But your interest rates go up and it causes inflation.”
On one alternative to the plan:
“If the administration and Pelosi and Reid were so bent on spending $1 trillion – an interesting number – if we had suspended payroll taxes for every working American for one year that would have cost us $1 trillion. Think of the stimulus there.”
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