Letter to Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell on the Stimulus Package
Dear Mr. Leader:
As the Senate prepares to return Monday to consideration of the pending appropriations bill to create jobs, to boost the economy, and to meet pressing human needs, it is important that we renew our commitment to breaking gridlock and to making government work.
To help accomplish those goals, I recommend you consider changes in the pending legislation to reduce its scope, while leaving unaffected certain key programs in the bill. I understand the procedural situation permits you and Senator Byrd to offer a substitute amendment when the Senate reconvenes. Unfortunately, the rules of the Senate have enabled a minority to block the will of the majority. That makes it necessary for us to step forward and modify the bill in order to meet our objectives. Therefore I recommend you consider offering a substitute that includes these components:
—Leave in place the proposed funding levels for these essential programs to create jobs and to meet human needs: highway construction, summer jobs for young people, childhood immunization, the Ryan White program for AIDS victims, construction of wastewater treatment facilities, hiring meat inspectors, and assistance to small business. Of course, the $4 billion for extended unemployment compensation benefits would be left in place.
—Reduce proportionately the other programs in the bill to bring budget authority down from $16.2 billion to $12 billion. This will require an across-the-board cut in other programs of about 44 percent.
—Target $200 million for grants to local governments to hire police as a means of helping to fight crime and to offset layoffs resulting from the fiscal constraints on local government.
This approach would reduce the budget authority in this bill by approximately 25 percent, but it would create only 18 percent fewer jobs in this fiscal year.
I make this recommendation reluctantly, and regret the unwillingness of the minority to let the Senate act on the original legislation. But our mandate is to achieve change, to move the country forward, and to end business as usual in Washington. By taking the initiative in the face of an unrelenting filibuster I believe we can respond to that mandate and achieve a significant portion of our original goals.
Your advice and counsel, and persistent bard work for the working people of this country are greatly appreciated. You have my respect and the thanks of the millions of Americans in the cities, towns and rural communities across the nation who you are trying to help.
William J. Clinton, Letter to Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell on the Stimulus Package Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/219740