WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., voted against legislation designed to stimulate the nation’s economy, arguing it includes too much spending on items that won’t help the economy and fails to confront the root problems causing America’s economic downturn. The Senate passed the legislation by a vote of 61 to 37.
“This legislation is yet another example of Congress throwing money at the symptoms but not getting to the root of the problem,” Isakson said. “While there are some good provisions in this bill, it is primarily spending money on programs that should not be categorized as stimulus and will not do anything to help our economy. Funding studies of global warming or re-seeding the Capitol lawn aren’t going to stimulate anything.”
“Instead of focusing on three major issues — job creation, housing and compassion for Americans who have lost jobs through no fault of their own — to boost the economy, this bill has morphed into a bloated government giveaway,” said Chambliss. “The majority in Congress has been in runaway mode when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars. This legislation is yet another sign that Washington is more concerned with pet projects than with the welfare of taxpayers.”
The legislation does include Isakson’s amendment to provide a direct tax credit to any homebuyer who purchases any home. Chambliss is an original co-sponsor of the amendment. The amount of the tax credit would be $15,000 or 10 percent of the purchase price, whichever is less. Purchases must be made within one year of the legislation’s enactment, and the tax credit would not have to be repaid. Congress passed a similar homebuyer tax credit in the 1975 economic downturn and it produced immediate positive results.
The amendment would allow taxpayers to claim the credit on their 2008 income tax return. It also seeks to prevent misuse by only allowing purchases of a principal residence and by recapturing the credit if the home is sold within two years of purchase. The amendment would sunset the current $7,500 housing tax credit on the date of enactment.
“It is time to fix America’s problem, not throw money at the symptoms. It is time to fix housing first,” Isakson said. “It is rare that we have a road map to success in times of difficulty, but this country has once before realized a housing crisis every bit as bad as the one we have today and economic troubles every bit as dangerous. We have a pervasive housing problem, and we have a historical precedent that works.”
“The housing issues are the root of this economic crisis,” said Chambliss. “Unless we directly address the housing issue, all of these billions of dollars will have been spent for naught.”