Are House Republicans reading the reports from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service? Because if the language they used Tuesday at a series of Capitol Hill press conferences on the stimulus is any indication, they are not doing their homework.
Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana, the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, kicked the day off with a morning press availability. Reacting to the town hall event President Barack Obama held in his state on Monday to sell the stimulus to ordinary Americans, Pence called the bill a "monstrous wish list of tired liberal spending priorities." Sitting in a well-appointed conference room on Capitol Hill, he insisted that a "so-called stimulus bill" loaded with spending would never get the support of the conservative House GOP caucus. "We're going to dig in, almost irrespective of the polls." He then noted that support for the bill is dropping in the polls.
The one thing that Pence pointed to as a panacea, both for the nation's economic problems and for the bill's lack of bipartisan support, was tax cuts. "The fastest way to jumpstart an economy in a recession," he said, is to give tax relief to families and small businesses. He noted that he too had held a town hall in Indiana, and the biggest rounds of applause always came for tax cuts.
A few hours later, the number two Republican in the House, Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia, held his own press availability. "Poll after poll" show that Americans want tax cuts, he said. He claimed that a plan put forward by House Republicans that is heavy on tax cuts will cost half as much as the current stimulus and create twice as many jobs.