February 3rd, 2009
11:40 AM ET
14 years ago

Republican senators meet to weigh stimulus alternative

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/03/art.getty.martinez.graham.jpg caption="Sen. Mel Martinez and Sen. Lindsey Graham said they plan to present their ideas to fellow Republicans at their weekly policy lunch today."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Ten Republican senators met in Sen. Mel Martinez's office Tuesday morning to discuss a broader stimulus measure than their leadership is proposing - but a narrower one than Democrats are considering.

CNN was the only news organization outside the meeting.

Afterwards, Martinez told CNN the details are still being debated and finalized, but they are looking at a ballpark figure of $500 billion, including the cost of tax cuts, infrastructure and military spending, and provisions to address the housing crisis.

Martinez and Sen. Lindsey Graham said they plan to present their ideas to fellow Republicans at their weekly policy lunch today.

The eclectic group of Republicans, spanning the ideological spectrum from the most conservative to the most moderate GOP senators, assembled over concerns their leadership's approach - to focus exclusively on the housing crisis and tax cuts - is enough to jumpstart the economy.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins told CNN the group believes a "realistic alternative" to the Democratic proposal is needed. "The worst thing we can do is just say no," she said. Sen. John McCain said they are trying to come up with a better package to create jobs.

The group of senators included John McCain, Mel Martinez, Saxby Chambliss, Susan Collins, Richard Burr, George Voinovich, Tom Coburn, John Thune, Johnny Isakson, and Lindsey Graham.

Filed under: Lindsey Graham • Mel Martinez
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Alan

    Wow. More tax cuts? The same ones we've had for the last 8 years (even 30 years) – not to mention that 95% of working families will get a tax cut anyway. When every economics professor and expert from Stanford to Yale say that tax cuts do nothing to stimulate an economy as complicated as ours, these old hacks are still touting the same old ways that for the most part got us into this mess in the first place! I expected them to say no but didn't think they would say, "why don't we just try the same thing we've been doing and hope this time it will work?"

    February 3, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. Sue

    While you Republicans are stretching this out as long as you can, all the while people are still losing their homes, still losing their jobs and unemployment has run out......while we all sit back out here and watch you fools going back and forth........we are at our wits end and you guys have no clue.........if the economy keeps getting worse, the ones we will blame will be you Republicans for just sitting on the POT and not getting anything done.......

    February 3, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. EC

    AND we wonder WHY the Republican Leadership remain clueless and tone deaf beyond belief.

    Just listen to these two fumbling bafoons (Martinez and Graham)!!! They are the poster child for Republican ignorance at its best.

    Just like their other Republican colleagues who can't stand the fact that they are NO LONGER in control. They are NO LONGER relevant AND their party SUCKS TO THE HIGH SEAS!!

    I mean just look at the RNC's new spokespeople...

    1. Joe the Plumber, who is NOW a consultant for the Republican Party. Wow... a plumber consulting the RNC that's a whole new realm of stupidity.

    2. Rush Limbaugh, who the Republican Leadership cowers and bows at his every word like a bunch of chicken heads. No surprise here.

    3. Sarah Palin who claims to be the GOVERNOR of Alaska, but NEVER seems to be in Alaska governing her own state!! Just who the hell is governing Alaska?

    What other governors do you know claims to be Governor of his/her state but is NEVER there to govern? Has a family, but is never there raising them?

    Wow... and this is what the RNC is calling their "game plan" for 2010 and 2012?

    HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!~ HA!

    This is getter better by the minute.......

    February 3, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. Barack wins and America collectively loses.

    President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are on the verge of putting into law a $819 billion “stimulus” program — unless they are stopped.
    This program is nothing less than a rip-off of taxpayers like you and me.
    The U.S. Senate will vote soon on this spending boondoggle, one of the most disgusting pork-barrel bills ever presented to Congress.
    And hold on to your hat: The Senate version backed by Majority Leader Harry Reid is even worse — it calls for an additional $71 billion in spending — totaling $890 billion.

    We need to make sure 40 U.S. senators — all Republicans — oppose the bill.

    Under Senate rules, the Democrats, led by Harry Reid, must come up with 60 votes to stop the Republican filibuster.

    That's why Obama and his allies are launching an all-out effort to pressure several liberal Republicans to cross over and vote for the package.

    The Democrats also are worried about several conservatives in their party who are up for re-election in 2010 and just might not want to vote for such an outrageous bill.

    February 3, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. Barack wins and America collectively loses.

    Whoever votes for this debaucle, will likely lose their seat in 2 years. Go Dems vote fot it big time, so the GOP will regain a majority in 2 years. Thank God, for the American people, seing through the waste from this spending package, that does little to stimulate and is really northing more than a rip-off of our future.

    February 3, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  6. Chipster

    Republican senators have an alternative: Wait, wait – let me guess. Their plan is to lower taxes for the top 5%, instead of just the top 1% and hope it will trickle down. You had your opportunity and you left us nearly $10 trillion in debt. Now, suddenly you want to worry about investing another $ trillion on a recovery plan? Please sit down and shut up. You dug this hole and President Obama is trying to fill it in. Maybe he'll succeed or maybe he'll fail, but we know you failed!

    February 3, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. a NY dem

    I have to say that the republicans are making sense. Smaller debt. It is surprising for me to say this, but there is just too much debt being added on by the dems.

    February 3, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. John, Brooklyn, New York

    I suggest that the Democrats should allow the Republicans in the Senate to filibuster the thing to a halt. With the economy grinding to a stop, largely thanks to a failure of past Republican oversight and current failure to act, we'll have a replay of 1996 when the Republicans stubbornly shut down the government over a budget squabble – and subsequently lost the election.

    February 3, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. floridajack

    dear republicans,

    same old, same old. tax cuts are not the answer. you have been preaching the mantra of tax cuts since regan and, with the exception of the clinton years, the economy has been in turmoil.

    the definition of insanity:
    doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.

    February 3, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. Repubs are Ignorant

    Right On EC, I agree 100%, you took the words right out of my mouth.
    Republicans are idiots especially these two.

    Yeah, let;'s wait and debate this to death, by then we'll all be living in the streets........ The American people need help NOW!!!!!

    February 3, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  11. Rob Johnson

    "The group of senators included John McCain, Mel Martinez, Saxby Chambliss, Susan Collins, Richard Burr, George Voinovich, Tom Coburn, John Thune, Johnny Isakson, and Lindsey Graham."

    Or as inflexible, hardcore anti-Obama conservatives will soon come to know them, the "Gang of Ten."

    The House bill was pretty terrible, hopefully the Senate version is better. However, anybody who thinks doing nothing is an option isn't paying much attention to the economy and the mood of the country.

    February 3, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. One Nation under God

    E C
    wow i never realize all of that.
    You are right they are going to be more in the toliet than before. Joe the plumber can't bring anyone into the fold that was not already there i really hate the way this is going. Hard dicisions has to be made and it looks like the republicans are trying to figure out how to win the elections. if nothing is done will we see a mondern day french reveloution in which all of the power has to be taken away.

    February 3, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. Chuck, Tennessee

    Many of you are still blaming the Repubs for all that ails in the economy. Worse, you are stupid enough to think the Dems proposed plan will stimulate the economy back to health. Get real! Which part do you think will help the most? Perhaps it is the $246 million benefit included for Hollywood movie producers, a poor group that really needs our help to maintain their minimalist lifestyles. Or the $2 billion for a coal power plant the Dept of Energy says is inefficient. $650 million to make sure people can still watch TV after the digital conversion. Or the $160 million to pay "volunteers" at the Corp for National and Community Service. CAN YOU SAY PORK? How is spending all this money going to stimulate the economy. I don't have a problem with the government trying to do something, even though I don't agree with it. But all this pork is making me sick!

    February 3, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  14. Truth

    "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship."
    – Unattributed

    February 3, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  15. Truth

    A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.
    – Unattributed

    February 3, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. I toldyouso

    People,people! Lets not get hung up which party's proposals are the most absurd. Lets take the proposals from anywhere, evaluate their net worth, and remember that we are not trying to promote one party over the other, but HELPING AMERICA!

    February 3, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  17. lucy2

    Tax cuts are not the answer. Along with some aid to states to help with unemployment costs, infrastructure spending seems to be the way to go, in my opinion. Bridges, roads, schools, energy grids, etc, all things that need to be done and the government would pay for anyway. Let's fix our bridges so there are no more collapses. Let's upgrade our schools and government buildings for energy efficiency, which would pay off with energy savings in the long run and put people to work now installing it. Get people back to work, get them off the unemployment lines, and improve the country at the same time.
    The Dems need to eliminate the excesses that don't help, because now is not the time to be greedy and go for pet projects. Reps need to realize that tax cuts aren't going to cut it this time, and have to be willing to acknowledge the fact that the American voters have taken away their power and given it to the Dems, so even if they don't agree with every little thing, they need to suck it up, make the best of it, and do what's best for the nation as a whole. And the Dems need to remember that the voters will hold them accountable, so they'd better not wreck this opportunity.
    I don't want to increase the debt either, but something has to be done and as quickly and efficiently (two words that Washington doesn't understand, I know) because things are not getting any better out there.

    February 3, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. John

    These spending programs will create jobs (good) and increase the debt (bad), both in the short term, which is what we need to get this economy moving.

    The programs included in this bill, which do not accompish this goal, should be removed, no objection from me.

    The Democrats NEED to remove all the junk form this bill, which is not actually going to stimiulate the economy. Pure and simple. It was stupid of the Democrats to allow this crap in the bill in the first place.

    Just like it was wrong of the Senate to include all the pork in the "W" stimulus package, which McCain his Republican colleagues were able to vote for. What Hypocracy.

    Tax cuts might help stimilate the economy (Good) , but in a longer time frame (Not so Good), and they will still increase the debt (Bad), at least in the short term (Bad). What is the immediate benefit of tax cuts to our current economic mess?

    I simply can not believe the inability of our government to do the right thing, do it quickly, and together, without being bought with pork programs, all for the good of the country, BEFORE the economy completely tanks.


    February 3, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  19. lucy

    Republicans, you have brilliant idea...Let's do nothing and bring this country down doooooooooooooooown the hill. Who cares, right?

    February 3, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. C


    February 3, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. let me guess

    I'm guessing lots of tax cuts for the rich.

    Gee, those didn't work over the last eight years, did they?

    February 3, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |