Iowa senators at odds in stimulus debate - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa senators at odds in stimulus debate

by Bryan Goettel

WASHINGTON (KWWL) - Both republicans and democrats agree that the U.S. economy needs a boost...and needs one fast. But Iowa senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) seem to exemplify the partisan debate that persists on President Obama's proposed stimulus package.

The price tag on President Obama's stimulus bill is approaching 900 billion dollars. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley thinks that's simply too much.

"We cannot casually deficit spend and ask American taxpayers to clean up the fiscal mess with high taxes down the road," said Grassley. 

Grassley and many of his republican colleagues feel the package focuses too much on spending for long-term projects. He says we must look at today by creating what he calls "shovel-ready" jobs.

"Some federal funds come into Iowa, you take a project off the shelf, you're ready to bid it within a week and you start hiring people and spending the money and creating jobs," said Grassley. 

Senator Tom Harkin says the bill would mean $1.5 billion for Iowa. Harkin could not be reached for comment, but did issue this statement in a press release:

"We are facing what could be the deepest, longest recession since the Great Depression," said Harkin. "We must act quickly and boldly. This bill will create jobs now while also laying the foundation for a stronger economy that works for all Americans in the future."

President Obama has set a February 16th deadline for passing the bill. The hope is that more than three quarters of the money will enter the economy by the end of next year.

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel

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