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House GOP explains 'no' stimulus vote

U.S. Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT) (C) speaks as Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oka.), Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) look on during a news conference on the economic stimulus package on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: When Congress votes on a package worth $800 billion, people pay attention. And that has made the vote in the House earlier this week -- the one in which not a single Republican voted in favor of the stimulus bill -- the first political football of the Obama administration. Groups affiliated with the Democrats are airing ads in states that have Republican senators, trying to put pressure to back the stimulus when the Senate votes next week.

Republicans in the House, on the other hand, are mounting a campaign to defend their unanimous vote against it. And they are targeting cities and states that are set to get billions from Washington if the bill does pass. Marketplace's Jeremy Hobson reports.


Jeremy Hobson: Republican Mick Cornett is the mayor of Oklahoma City. Now, not a single one of Oklahoma's 77 counties voted for President Obama in November. Still, this is Mayor Cornett's reaction to the House vote on the stimulus, which his representative voted against.

Mick Cornett: Well, I suppose it's disappointing to see a partisan vote on something that I think will help a lot of people, but I think there are oversight issues and Republicans are rightfully concerned about too much pork.

Republican Mayor Leonard Urban of Connersville, Ind., is fine with the no vote from his representative, Mike Pence. Urban says Connersville probably won't get much money anyway, since projects have to be shovel-ready.

Leonard Urban: Well, how many of us small towns like us can have a planning stage on a million dollar or half million dollar project when we had no money to begin with?

Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera -- also a Republican -- does have projects ready to go. But in the reddest of the red parts of the country, he's cool with the no vote from Congressman Doug Lamborn.

Lionel Rivera: I hope a stimulus plan is passed that is dramatically revised that puts more money into infrastructure projects that will actually build highways and help spur job creation and commerce. Our list of highway projects we think will do that.

In the town of Glen Cove, N.Y. -- on Long Island -- Democratic Mayor Ralph Suozzi hardly has time to think about the stimulus package. But he says he doesn't begrudge his rep -- Republican Peter King -- for voting against it.

Ralph Suozzi: The final package still has to be resolved and I think overall he'll support any final package that comes out. Because it'll be good for the region.

Good for the region, that is, as long as the Congressman brings something home.

In New York, I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

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