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New RNC chair Michael Steele on stimulus bill and spending

February 7, 2009 |  3:00 am

Former Maryland lieutenant governor and newly elected chairman of the Republican National committee Michael Steele

Saturday has become quite the speechifying day.

It's the weekly time for the president's remarks and the other party's response. During the recent interregnum between election and inauguration days, we had the president's weekly speech and the president-elect's weekly speech.

This Saturday, because it's his first such speech, we're printing a transcript of the brief remarks released by Michael Steele, the newly elected chairman of the Republican National Committee. He's sounding a GOP warning about the need for targeted spending to stimulate the economy, not just spend for spending's sake.

If you'd rather hear audio of these remarks, click here.

--Andrew Malcolm

Transcript of RNC Chairman Michael Steele's remarks on spending, Feb. 7, 2009

“This is Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Democrats have controlled both branches of government for less than a month. And you have to wonder if all that power has gone to their heads.

“For the last two weeks, they’ve been trying to force a massive spending bill through Congress under the guise of economic relief.

“All of us –- Republicans and Democrats -– agree the government must act to kick-start the American economy.  American families are doing their best to balance their own budgets and pay their mortgages.

“The fastest way to help those families is by letting them keep more of the money they earn.  Individual empowerment: that’s how you stimulate the economy.

“But the Democrats have a different philosophy.  Instead of leaving money in the family checkbook, they want to send it to Washington, run it through a slow and inefficient government, and hope that does some good.

“When families keep the money, they spend it, save it, or invest it. And the private sector economy benefits when families and businesses buy consumer goods or invest it for the future. But when Washington spends the money, some of it may flow into the economy, but all too often, much gets wasted.

“Democrats in Congress want a one-trillion dollar spending bill. You’ve heard about the pork-barrel programs they want to fund… 45 million dollars for ATV trails and removal of fish passage barriers is one that caught my eye. Exactly what is a fish passage barrier and why does it cost 45 million dollars to stimulate the economy with it? 

“That’s why Republicans in the House voted against uncontrolled spending.  This is not a bragging point, but rather a statement that at least Republicans would stand with the American taxpayer. 

“But voting ‘no’ is not enough… and Republicans have offered innovative ideas to help struggling families and small businesses. We’ve offered plans to spark job creation and investment through lower taxes, to stop the taxation of unemployment benefits, and to help Americans keep their jobs and their homes.

“The comprehensive Republican plan would lower taxes for all working American families.  If you’re married, the first 16,750 dollars you make this year will be taxed at 10%. Why don’t we cut that rate in half to give instant buying power to every working American family?

“Good ideas… lots of them… all left out of this plan by the Democrats in Congress. Republicans stand ready to work with reasonable Democrats to do what is right for America. But it will take more than bipartisan words from the president. It will require fair-minded action from Democrats in Congress. Thanks for listening.”             ###

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What now for Michael Steele's Republican Party?

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Photo credit: Associated Press

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