Kratovil Changes Sides, Supports Stimulus Package; Bartlett Only "No" Vote
Rep. Frank Kratovil joined Maryland's six other Democratic congressman in voting in favor of the $787 billion stimulus package, which has just been approved by the House of Representatives.
The freshman from the Eastern Shore was one of five Democrats who switched sides and voted for the measure after having opposed it last month, when the House first approved it.
Once again, none of the Republicans in the House voted in favor of the package, and Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, the state's lone Republican, was the only "no" vote from Maryland.
The final House vote on the measure was 246-183, with seven Democrats and 176 Republicans opposed.
In a statement, Kratovil said that “although this bill is still far from perfect, in a crisis of this magnitude we can’t afford to let the perfect be the enemy of the necessary. Economists all over the country believe, and I ultimately agreed that some action needed to be taken to deal with this crisis."
He said the final package had cut billions in spending while increasing funding for rural broadband and other projects that will help his district, which takes in the entire Eastern Shore and portions of Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Harford counties.
"It is estimated that this bipartisan compromise will create or save 8,200 jobs here in the First District," he said. "I was proud to work with the Blue Dog Coalition and other colleagues to advocate for a leaner, more focused, and more effective stimulus package.
Kratovil initially opposed the measure, which had a price tag of $819 billion, because, he said, the more stimulative elements of the package had been watered down by other federal spending.
A new Congressional Budget Office analysis shows that direct federal spending in the final package will be $308 billion, a reduction of $47 billion from the initial House version.
Bartlett, the only Maryland opponent of the measure, called it "a job killing, not a job-making bill."
In a statement the Frederick Republican said he hoped the plan would work "but it would be the first time in history that a government could borrow and spend an economy out of a recession. The word will get out that this ‘stimulus’ is just a diverting headline for a big government grow bill. This fulfills the wish of liberals to expand government spending and control over Americans’ lives and their hard-earned money.”