As Chair of the House Rules Committee, I must clear up untruths regarding the economic recovery package.
We've heard a lot of noise across the aisle about how partisan the development of the bill was --- that Republicans were blocked from being involved. This is entirely false. In fact, this was one of the most open processes a bill this large has had in over a decade.
They are being disingenuous, or worse. These are the facts:
The bill, as it came to the Rules Committee, the last stop before the floor vote, already incorporated 12 Republican amendments. The Rules Committee then added the 11 amendments: 6 Democratic and 5 Republican, in addition to a complete Republican substitute, and a motion to recommit. They were unable to muster the votes necessary and lost on bipartisan votes. House Republicans may have come together to vote against the final bill, but they split on their own amendments with 40 to 60 Republicans voting with Democrats. Some Republicans even voted against their party's alternative bill, and it failed on the floor.
The Republican alternative didn't have a final price tag, consisted entirely of tax cuts, and would actually raise taxes for 26 million American families. In two years, the Democratic bill would create 3.6 million jobs. The Republican substitute: 1.2 million - a third as many as the Democratic bill that passed the House.
President Obama even met with House Republicans more times in two weeks to discuss this legislation than President Bush did with House Democrats in two terms.
The Republicans were certainly allowed in the process, but they wanted to obstruct.
(Cross-posted at Daily-Kos here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/2/12/121339/879?new=true)