February 8th, 2009
11:00 AM ET
13 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. Eileen

    “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.”


    Yeah, they "tweaked" it to the point where the items that would produce the most bang for the buck have been reduced or eliminated, while increasing the amount devoted to tax cuts that have proven to be largely ineffective. Poor judgement.

    I fully understand the republicans tentative stance – they're a party desperate to find some relevance as they're circling the drain. But do they have to drag the rest of us down with them? At this point I would actually prefer that republicans back off completely and let it ride on the backs of the democrats – let them take all the praise for the success or blame for the failure. They've had their run, and they landed us in this mess – so their judgement on economic issues is absolutely tarnished. I doubt the 2.6 million recently unemployed Americans give a hoot about republican relevancy.

    February 8, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  2. Melissa in New Orleans

    No, they need to shut up and let the Democrates handle it. The Republicans have caused enough trouble over the last 8 years and we are tired of them. Do you get it yet?

    February 8, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. Bacchus

    Shelby, I listened to you on CNN . Easy to speak out when you wanted to deep six Detroit because you got the foreign automakers providing jobs in your state.

    What amazes me that in the three months since the election , everyone knew Obama was going to come up with a large stimulus plan that would cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

    Why then have NOT the Republicans come up with a BETTER alternative ? Other than more tax cuts for the rich which helped create the large deficit, what plan do they have? Why not Shelby put your mouth where the money is and come up with a plan and instead of speaking in political speak state how YOU WOULD help save us a depression? People are fired up and call their congressmen and senators. If there was a good plan people would respond

    What do I hear? Silence............. Thats what I thought you and the opponents have NOTHING to offer

    February 8, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. Deb

    Repubs should shut the @kjskj UP!!!!!!!!!

    February 8, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. Norma Williams

    Shelby is the real symbol for the GOP, not Rush Limbaugh and certainly not their Uncle Tom RNC Chair. This is a man who cares nothing for the America, who's in the back-pocket of the Japanese, and is no better than Marie Antoinette. Instead of cake, Shelby, McCain and the rest of the no-nothing GOP are telling Americans, "eat your food stamps!" They have zero solutions because they are the ones who caused this mess with their own fiscal irresponsibility these past 8 years! To Mr Shelby and the rest of his party: Why don't you go eat Yen instead cuz when Toyota and Hyundai pull out of your states, that's all you and your constituents will have left to eat! And don't expect a bailout from us!

    February 8, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  6. cedgar

    i see the children are back on the blogs again
    i tell you what when vp and the president also put THERE money where there mouth is i will believe they have some answers. it is real easy to spend some one else money obama and biden do not even GIVE
    10% of there income to help others my 19yr gave more in ONE year
    then biden in all the tax forms i saw. and let us not forget ALL the tax
    cheats obama supports. it seem to me there is still the "have and have not" in new admin. i m waiting for a REAL leader not the same old same old from both parties.

    February 8, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. Unstimulated

    Obstruction of injustice is a noble act.

    February 8, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  8. Barbara Coull Williams

    Let's make sure that Alabama and South Carolina (with the ridiculous comments from it's governor today) don't get any of the stimulus money. If they can't support the package, they shouldn't get the money. Then we'll see what the good people of those states do to their elected officials. Vote them out, as they deserve. We need to hold our elected officials accountable for their harmful and wrong-headed positions. America deserves better than Shelby and Gov Sanford in South Carolina, among others.

    February 8, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. Proud American

    Shelby and the rest of the republican should go home. Funny stimulus never entered a republicans mind until Obama took office. These Idiots have sat around and did nothing for the past 8 years and now all of a sudden their concern? Go home Idiots and let the democrats do the job you failed at.

    February 8, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. Chipster

    911willie: Where were you for the past 8 years and $4 trillion additional debt? Come to think of it – where was Shelby? I don't recall his opposition to all the spending and explosion of new government agencies and departments filled with incompetent contributors,

    February 8, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. RUKidding?

    The Republicans have good reason to drag their feet. All of the terrible unemployment numbers that have been released up to now occurred under George Bush's watch. The recession started in December, 2007, folks. The puny, half-baked, tax-credit "stimulus" that Bush supported in the spring of '08 did not break the recession. The longer this goes on, the more the Republicans can say it's Obama's "failed policies" rather than their own.

    Tax cuts won't fix bridges. Tax cuts won't fill potholes. Tax cuts won't replace the income of 250,000 California state employees who were furloughed on Friday. Their lost income would have been spent at local grocery stores, clothing stores, auto dealerships, and repair shops. California had to stop highway projects that were already underway (never mind shovel ready). All across the country, state and local governments are laying off people and stopping projects that would have kept people working.

    That's what this stimulus is about folks. Is it government spending? You bet it is!! It's keeping people working on building and maintaining the infrastructure and services that this country needs and uses every day and then spending their paychecks at local businesses.

    February 8, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  12. Chuck

    Mr. Shelby:
    You are a fraud in Washington. You and your state legislators gave the foreign car companies hugh sums of money it they would build plants in your state. No taxes for years to come. This was nothing more than a large stimulus package on a state level. Look at the suffering on main street. It is real. Put Americans first or you might get a full scale depression in this country and it will be because of people like you and your Republican George Bush whiners!

    February 8, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  13. Action

    I love these guys on the right..."we'll go to the mat to fight for you when you are unborn....but once you are...you are on your own"....pathetic.

    I hope everyone of their constiuents who have been tossed out of a job remember that these folks want to stall, delay, and do as little as possible to help them.

    February 8, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. Enough Already

    To The GOP:

    What part of "we do not want you to run the Government" don't you understand? We voted all of you out of office for a reason so please try to understand why.

    February 8, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. Anna, Missouri

    Where in the h%#l were all of these fiscal conservative Republicans when George Bush with his Republican controlled Congress doubled the national debt from 5 trillion to 10 trillion? Where were all of the arguements that "we need to balance the budget" when they took us from a surplus gift wrapped by Bill Clinton to a deficit? Where were the arguements against spending that is not paid for when Bush took us to war and told the American people to go shopping while they charged the whole thing to future generations?

    Now, when we the people voted for change in Washington, they are playing partisan politics instead of working to actually save jobs. They proved to us that trickle down economics doesn't work, but that is what they want now. They complain that they were not in the meetings. Maybe because they refused to attend them and actually try to get something done instead of just trying to block this plan. If they had actually said we want to work with the Democrats and understand that there has to be more than just tax cuts for the wealthy in the plan, the Dems would have accepted some of their ideas, but to be bypartisan means you actually have to agree to some things that you don't like. The Republicans are not doing that. 42% of the bill is tax cuts, and they still won't support it. That is partisan politics, not putting the "Country first" They lost so now they don't care about the country. What great patriotic soles they are. NOT!

    February 8, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  16. Lost in Texas Forever

    just how much do the Republicans want cut out of this bill? How many more tax cuts do they want? I'm willing to bet even if the Dems would give the Repubs even over 50% of what they want..they would still hollar about it. I see one of the things the GOP wants cut out deals with education and building new schools, well no shock here seeing how the GOP cares not about education

    February 8, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  17. Pat Dunedin Fl

    Vote Shelby out he lives in one of the poorest states, as a frequent
    visitor to Alabama, and married to a Alabaman this man is a
    disgrace. Lets hope this man gets voted out!! He just a lying

    February 8, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. Paul Abeln

    I've seen Senator Shelby on TV multiple times commenting on financial matters. His inane comments demonstrate the most minimal understanding of the situation. The senator must really like being on TV–but all the appearances just reinforce how little he knows. His social quotient is likely very high while his intelligence quotient is abysmally low. He is an equisite example of why I call the Republican party the party for the ignorant.

    February 8, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  19. Linda Goodman

    I think when the dust settles, and it will take yrs., there will be plenty of blame to go around. As long as the politicians keep the general public spouting off at the party we do not belong to, we will not be watching what they are ALL doing, putting the you know what to the poor old American taxpayer. I personally believe Thomas Jefferson's quote "he who governs least, governs best." Let's get the gov. out of the financial mkt, the auto industry, and let them TRY to govern. That seems to be more than they can handle. Do you really want the fed. gov. taking over banks, companies, etc.? Not me

    February 8, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. Illinois 2

    Instead of giving money away to the banks and to the wall street bunch, maybe it is time to forgive the debt of all those that are trying to pay down their debt and working hard to keep the jobs they have.

    The congress and senate also need to stop giving tax breaks to all those companies that move jobs and or corporate offices out of the united states for cheap labor and tax evasion. This also goes to all of you that support term limits, just vote these bums out and/or keep those that are working for the voters and the well being of this great nation.

    February 8, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  21. Hope for some Common Sense

    The subprime loans were started in the Clinton time frame, and were defended by barney frank and cris dodds, is where the snow ball was made and pushed down the hill. That is what has created the biggest landslide in the History of the USA. They need to fire those people that made such stupid moves. But no they are still in there and representing the people?????????????? Don't make any differance what party you belong to, You should know that throwing good money after bad after you let the cat out of the bag is not going to solve one damm constructive thing. Private enterprize can solve the problem and Big Goverment can Add to the problem. Common Sense one day will prevail. Votee NO NO NO on this Porkuls package.

    February 8, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  22. Louie Tries to Distract By Citing a Nine-Month Old Franken-Tax Story

    Why do the Rushpublicans Hate AMERICA?

    February 8, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. John

    Republicans unhappy?

    Why not propose less regulation along with more tax cuts for the wealthy?

    We all know how well that's been working out.

    February 8, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. Ron Wisconsin Dells WI

    The Republicans need to start thinking about a new attitude.If they had there way it would mean every american worker,wife and children would be an american dog slave in poverty and living in the streets looking for handouts.Its time for change and the republicans can take a back seat if they want to.I will not let them ruin my family or our lives for there self greed.Shame on them!

    February 8, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. Carl Schulkin

    Senator Richard Shelby's comments on the current stimulus package are similar in tone to and use similar language as Republican Senator Warren Austin's reaction to Franklin Roosevelt's spending proposals at the beginning of the New Deal. Both Republican Senator's used the phrase "road to disaster." The difference, of course, is that, contrary to Senator Shelby's statement, this is no longer unchartered territory. We have been down this road before in the 1930s, and those who know their history know what happened. Senator Shelby apparently does not. What happened was that President Roosevelt's version of stimulus measures significantly improved the economy between 1933 and 1936. In 1937, however, he made significant concessions to his Republican critics, cut spending and the country was plunged back into the depression. President Obama has rightly criticized Senator Shelby and his colleagues for their lack of understanding of how a stimulus package works. Juxtaposing Senator Shelby's comments with Senator Austin's graphically demonstrates how outdated and wrongheaded Republican criticisms of the current stimulus package are.

    February 8, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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