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Guthrie explains vote against president’s stimulus package

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Congressman speaks to Chamber during stop in Hodgenville

By Ben Sheroan

Brett Guthrie said he supports economic stimulus by the federal government but he joined House Republicans in a unified vote against the plan endorsed by President Barack Obama.

Guthrie, the new representative from the 2nd Congressional District, attended the LaRue County Chamber of Commerce’s monthly meeting Feb. 18 and explained his stance of the $787 billion bill.

What began as a stimulus package to create jobs by improving roads, bridges and schools, grew to contain pet projects of Democratic legislators enthused about having control of Congress and the White House, Guthrie said. He said the final money for infrastructure construction was less than 7 percent of the total price tag.

“It shows Washington hasn’t changed,” Guthrie said in an interview before the chamber luncheon.

Guthrie expressed concern “about the perpetual debt we’re getting into.” He said House and Senate leaders admitted that only 58 percent of the legislation actually addresses the economy downturn.

“This bill overall has too much spending,” he said.

The Republican from Bowling Green said Congress “should have had a very targeted bill” and the projects tacked on “should have been debated another day.”

The law allows many of the decisions about which projects to finance are left to state government. The projects must be ready to bid and start work with 120 days and designed to meet federal project requirements. Kentucky expects to receive $421 million.

During his brief remarks at the luncheon, he also mentioned that $150 million was authorized for the National Park Service, which could benefit LaRue County because of the Abraham Lincoln National Historic Site and the Boyhood Home at Knob Creek.

Almost a week after the bill was approved, Guthrie said representatives still were discovering items in the voluminous legislation.

“It’s like someone handing you ‘Moby Dick’ on Thursday night and having to do a book report the next morning.”

Guthrie was greeted as Chamber Director Rita Williams led the group in the singing of “Happy Birthday.” He turned 45 on the day of his visit.