February 8th, 2009
11:00 AM ET
14 years ago

Shelby: Republicans should start over on stimulus bill


Watch Sen. Shelby debate the merits of the stimulus bill with New York Sen. Charles Schumer on John King's State of the Union.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama still isn’t happy with the stimulus bill even after hours of negotiating by centrist members of his own party in the Senate.

Asked by CNN’s Chief National Correspondent John King whether the version of the bill currently under consideration in the Senate is better than the House version, Shelby said his preference would be to start from scratch.

“It’s close to the House bill,” Shelby said Sunday on State of the Union. “They tweaked it a little bit but the substance is the same.”

“It’s not anything I could support,” Shelby added. “And I would hope – and I’m afraid we won’t – the Republicans would stay together. We could shelf this bill and start again. That’s what we really need to do.”

Shelby, the Ranking Member on the Senate Banking Committee, has also been critical of other efforts by the federal government to help the struggling economy including legislation that would have provided a bailout to the auto industry.

The Senate reached a tentative agreement Friday evening on a compromise version of the stimulus bill that was largely negotiated by a handful of centrist Republicans whose votes are needed to prevent a filibuster.

The Senate is expected to vote on the revised stimulus bill Tuesday.

soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. Tony in Maine

    When are the Republicans going to wake up to the fact that they lost.

    It's time to deal with the reality of being a minority party Shelby. You and the rest of the southern white guys no longer call the shots in Washington.

    February 8, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. Arden

    I agree with Bill, ca All the republicans want to see is Obama fail. When has anyone taken a loan out simply because they wanted the money to spend and then expected a tax break to help pay it off. You take a loan out to spend; to get caught up on bills, do repair work on your home, save a little, and if there is any left over go out to a movie occasionally with your family. All the republicans want is to see the Obama administration fail. All they care about is the next election. They still believe that americans are stupid and aren't watching. Well we are, and no matter what I will support this President. Yes he has made some mistakes but he will get us there and back on track. Fox News is has already gone back to GOP negative attacks by claiming that Obama has now become irrogant. Sound familiar. Remember, Obama inherited this mess by the George Bush Administration. its going to take more than three weeks to clean it up

    February 8, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. Roger

    Senator Shelby is speaking for 98% of the republican party who are the extreme conservative right wingers of the GOP...all they know is less taxes & smaller government (when it is good for them)...they have a very narrow view of anything other than NO....If I were President Obama I would not sign the new stimulus package, it was ripped of things that could stimulate the economy to get three republican votes...I would just let the american people see what the GOP is really all about...and in 2010 let the people vote the closed minded republican party out of office....

    February 8, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. Tom in San Diego

    I grew up in Kentucky, went to college at a great school because of federal loan asistance and pell grants, and came out to San Diego with hope in my heart. That was back in the very beginning of the Clinton years. It was hard going at first because of the mess the economy was suffering after the firs Gulf War and economic policies coming out of the Bush administration. Sound familiar?

    BUT SHELBY DOESN'T GET IT! "Start from scratch?" What kind of clueless, isolationist moron did Alabama elect? I cannot say I am without some blame, after all Mitch McConnel is also from Kentucky, but at least in my hometown they now realize Mitch is an idiot. We must act decisively and forcefully, not spending another month deliberating as another 600000 jobs are flushed away. Reach down and find your courage to ac, Mr. Shelby. This country can ill afford the current Republican approach to "targeted stimulus."

    The 2nd Bush administration tax cuts in eight years cost us 1.2 trillion in revenue. The wars according to esimates anywhere from 1 to 2 trillion. All of this and Shelby wonders why we are so vocally opposed to anything coming out of his mouth?

    February 8, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. stag

    If you whinners would have insisted that we collectively stop buying Chines junk and Islamic and Russian oil, we would not be in this mess. The stimulus packege will benefit China more than you or your neighbor.

    Face it folks, your screwed either way. Learn to enjoy your new lower standard of living and the Chavez clone as our president. It will be okay, the Chinese workers have shown just how little food you really need.

    February 8, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. Butch Dillon

    Shelby is just a clueless southerner with a vendetta against creative thinking. His approach recovery is economic equivalent of treason.

    February 8, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. Big D

    And why was Shelby asked about his opinion in the first place? Why aren't economists being asked and interviewed? Why aren't a broader array of experts being asked? Why are the obstructionist GOP being interviewed over and over? I want to see other opinions. And I want to see the misrepresentations of the GOP being called out for the distortions than they are.

    February 8, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  8. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    Good call by senator Shelby. Dream team at the white house have moved from Monday to Tuesday. Republicans should move to Friday and if need be, Feb 17th. Crunch time people. Winner takes all.

    February 8, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. Diana Ewing NJ

    As we watch all the news or how bad it is for the Government to start spending money so Americans can work and start spending, my husband always loves to remind me that these against the bill are working, while many in our state have lost their jobs and are not spending money which means his 32 year old business is going down the drain..... and we are living on our retirement money right now.

    February 8, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. tony

    Bill in Albuquerque,

    Hillary is a fighter. Republicans love to fight against her. If she were the president she still would have needed to find a few Republican votes to stop the Republicans from filibustering the bill. Obama went out of his way to be conciliatory to the Republicans and all he could muster were 3 Republican votes. Why do you think that Hillary would have done better?

    February 8, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  11. James at 46

    Anyone actually look at where the spending goes? This is supposed to be a STIMULUS package, but well over half the money goes to - the federal government. Office buildings, NASA, NOAA, Medicare, etc. The only thing it stimulates is the federal government. As the Wall Street Journal put it last week, instead of helping families, the government has decided to redecorate.

    February 8, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. Joanna

    The Republicans are grandstanding just for the sake of grandstanding. Why are we even brothering with these people? They are trying to sabotage Obama. They do not want him to succeed. Failure for Obama, is failure for all of us. Lesson learned, no more codling a party that is against government. They are using gasoline to try and put out a fire that they started with there incompetence. We voted against there ideals in NOV. forget the GOP, get this country started again. They will pay next election, again!

    February 8, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  13. Cynthia

    Start over my a–! You , mccain,and lindsey graham can start over on your rockers you old fools!

    February 8, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  14. obama all the way


    February 8, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. radre

    Closing GITMO is a mistake. Bush and these republicans should be sent there and with a little waterboarding they will confess and even admit to evryything . If these guys say that spending does not work then what they did last 8 years blowing up the spending was criminal and they deserve to be in GITMO.

    February 8, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. Lynn

    Why is every post on the CNN blog from the point of view of a Republican??? So much for "fair and balanced" from the socalled "best" political team on TV. Cnn would be better off actually providing OBJECTIVE reporting rather than its constant self promotion.

    John King was totally partisan (Republican slant has been obvious throughout the primaries and the election) on his show today.

    February 8, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  17. I love porkchops

    Here come the confererate rednecks,still trying to win the war.

    February 8, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. BillPa

    AS i understand the Stimulus Package today I vote no . The plan fails to be a Bi-partisian plan that protects the taxpayer. It is a pure pork spending plan

    I have not seen the details of the Republican lists – where can I find it?

    I think each line item in the bill should have a Congression Name attached to it and his analysis and reason for putting it the bill. In addition the content of the bill should be in proportion to the members in congress ie 45% republican input/plan and 55% democratics.

    If we don not share responsibility, then the stimulus plan will be attached by all for the next 4 years and most likely cost the taxpayer a lot more money.

    Team works better –

    February 8, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  19. Erin

    I just love the way all the Democrats here seem to think that bipartisanship means that the Republicans do exactly what the Democrats want. Bipartisanship means compromise. Even Obama said that he was "unwilling" to modify the "tax relief" (aka, give-away) parts of the stimulus. Being unwilling to compromise seems to have to meanings, depending on your party. If you are a Democrat, it apparently means that you are doing what is best for the country. If you are a Republican, it seems to mean that you are self-serving and out of touch with Americans. You all might want to consider that the Republican senators are doing their jobs. Although you aren't Republicans, about half of Americans are. This "stimulus" bill has too much in it that will not provide stimulus. Sure, those things are worthy of funding, but not in this bill. The Repubilcan senators are representing their constituents by pointing this out and are trying to do what is best for the country - limit spending to things that will actually stimulate the economy. If it hadn't been for your previous savior (Bill Clinton) and his mandates about sub-prime mortgages, we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place. Add to that spike in oil prices (ironically, at a critical time in the elections) and you have the reason for the ecomomic troubles. Try as you might, you cannot blame this on "Republican policies."

    February 8, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. elsie

    How can the "substance be the same" when they took out what would have created 600,000 jobs and replaced it with Tax Cuts for the rich. It is now 42% Tax cuts and 58% spending. Wasn't that their leader Rush Limbaughs so call plan. I guess they really do follow his lead. Pathetic.

    February 8, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. chris

    and Mr Shelby has a degree in economics? How many in Congress actually do. I do not, but I understand what needs to be done to prevent a Depression. They need to leave the party line at the door and listen to those (economists) who know what they are talking about. Most of them believe we need to spend and right now the Gov't is the only one who can or is willing to do it; hence the stimulus.

    I'm tired of hearing them say it did not work for FDR in the 30's (it did) or Japan. Well, Sweden did it and it worked for them. Now folks will say well those were different times and that is exactly my point. THESE are different times with lots of things going on. Two wars, Banks, Economy. Never before has the country been in such a shape and we need to act now.

    Start over!!! These guys are on sundial and the need to get on stopwatch. Let's see we take another 2 months to get something that the GOP still will not support and in the meantime we loose another 1 million + jobs. Maybe if the majority of jobs lost were in Alabama; he'd get a clue....

    Now is the time, Now is our time. Call, write, carrier pigeon, IM, Twitter, Facebook or MySpace your Congressman/Congresswoman and let them know how you feel

    February 8, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. elsie

    Louie, what are you talking about? Is this something new? I remember when the Franken tax thing happened. It was about money he had earned in another state. He paid it. He also got most of it back because it was not his error but the IRS mistake.

    February 8, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  23. Nola

    I think that each of the Republican Senators and Congressman should give up his or her salary for 2009 (175,000), wives salary offset, and not be able to live off of their savings/investments for one year. I be willing to bet they would be more than happy too vote and get this stimulus plan approved. Sometimes you have to let hard headed mean spirited people get a taste of how everyday people deal with lack of income. How they stay up a night trying to figure out how they will feed their families, keep a roof over their heads, and how they will find a job, as well as, finding a job that will allow they to just provide the necessities for their families.

    February 8, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  24. Farrell, Houston, Tx


    February 8, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  25. Marc PDX

    Jimmy Hussein Ocarter. Not the messiah after all...

    February 8, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
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