Monday, November 15, 2010

Lewis bill would return $12 Billion in Unspent Stimulus Money to Treasury (Press Enterprise By Ben Goad) Nov. 15, 2010

Lewis bill would return $12 billion in unspent stimulus money to Treasury

10:00 PM PST on Monday, November 15, 2010

The Press-Enterprise
Ratcheting up his calls for reduced spending -- and his bid for a key position in the next Congress -- Inland Rep. Jerry Lewis introduced legislation Monday that would return all yet-to-be obligated federal stimulus money to the U.S. Treasury.

Roughly $12 billion of the $787 billion stimulus bill has not been obligated to any programs, said Lewis, R-Redlands, citing estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

"We must stop the spending of any of these funds now, before the Obama administration rushes to spend what's left before Republicans return to the majority in January," Lewis said.

Lewis and other Republicans have called for a return to 2008 spending levels as part of the "Pledge to America," the national campaign platform they unveiled in the months leading to their landslide Election Day victory.

Since Democrats will have control in the House until the current Congress ends next month, Lewis' bill is unlikely to move forward. But it might help sway Republican colleagues who will decide whether to give him the chairmanship of the House Appropriation Committee in the next Congress.

Lewis has served as the top GOP member of the panel, which oversees government spending, for the last six years. Due to term limits Republicans place on certain positions, he'll need a waiver from the party's steering committee to serve as chairman.

Some conservative-leaning groups and media outlets have come out in opposition to Lewis' bid for the chairmanship, questioning whether he is a true fiscal hawk.

The bill introduced Monday, and a letter he sent to the White House calling on President Barack Obama to halt stimulus spending, reflect the latest in a series of actions Lewis has taken in recent months to show he is serious about working to cut the deficit.

Reach Ben Goad at 202-661-8422 or

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