State Journal-Register

Oct 25, 2001

LaHood one of seven Republicans to vote against package


WASHINGTON - In his second significant recent break with his party's leadership and the White House, Rep. Ray LaHood was just one of seven Republican House members to vote against a $100 billion economic stimulus package approved Wednesday.

LaHood said he opposed President Bush and Speaker Dennis Hastert because the country has too many other pressing needs in the war against terrorism, including military spending, and postal and aviation security.

"We passed a huge tax cut several months ago with the idea that it was going to stimulate the economy," LaHood said. "I think that we ought to let that tax-cut provision - the $1.3 trillion over 10 years - I think we ought to give that an opportunity to work. It's just gone into effect."

LaHood supported that earlier tax cut.

However, the measure that passed the House Wednesday in a 216-214 vote calls for a new round of tax rebates, tax-rate cuts and new corporate tax deductions.

"This bill is going to cost an enormous amount of money, and I'm worried that we're spending an enormous amount of money," the Peoria Republican said. "Before we pass another economic stimulus package, I want to be sure we're not going to go into deficit spending, that we're not going to dip into the Social Security trust fund .. ."

Bush is expected to ask Congress for another increase in defense spending, while the U.S. Postal Service also is preparing to ask lawmakers for money for new equipment to scan for anthrax, LaHood noted. In addition, Congress is likely to spend more money to boost aviation security and to assist other struggling industries as it did with the airlines relief package.

"Somebody has got to watch the purse strings," said LaHood, acknowledging that he received some pressure from the Bush administration. "There were a lot of people talking to me," including Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, he said.

It's the second time in less than two weeks that LaHood has bucked GOP leaders.