Kratovil skeptical on stimulus bill
Maryland's newest Congressman, Frank Kratovil, is taking great pains to let it be known that he's not toeing the Democratic line on the huge economic stimulus bill heading through the House. A Democrat elected in a Republican district, the former Queen Anne's County state's attorney is using the first big votes of his career in Washington to reassure voters that he's no tax-and-spend liberal. His press guy, Kevin Lawlor, has twice sent out a press release to assure voters that Kratovil has twice bucked the Democratic majority in an attempt to "strip wasteful spending" from the bill. The press release reads:
Today, Congressman Frank Kratovil voted twice to strip wasteful spending form a proposed economic stimulus package that the House is planning to take up tomorrow afternoon. First, Congressman Kratovil voted against the rule that establishes the process by which the stimulus package will be considered on the House floor. Congressman Kratovil was one of 16 Democrats who voted against this rule.
The Congressman then voted against a measure designating the stimulus legislation as an “emergency,” thereby allowing the legislation to avoid “Pay-Go” requirements. “Pay-Go” requires that all expenditures are somehow offset in order to keep budgets balanced and not saddle our children and grandchildren with even higher levels of national debt. Congressman Kratovil was one of 27 Democrats to vote against the “emergency” designation.
Kratovil goes on to criticize $200 million in funding to restore the national mall and $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. (Apparently unemployed artists aren't important.) "Although these may be admirable causes, they certainly are not emergencies and should not be lumped in with legitimate efforts to strengthen our economy and get people back to work," he says. "Our economy is in crisis, and it’s going to take a combination of tough choices and fiscal responsibility to give it the boost it needs."
The real test comes tonight when the House is supposed to vote on the bill. Will Democrats have enough votes without him, or will Kratovil have to decide whether to buck a party call?