Link Rep. Walt Minnick introduces $174 billion stimulus bill By Erika Bolstad - firstname.lastname@example.org WASHINGTON — Rep. Walt Minnick has introduced his own economic recovery plan, a scaled-back version of the $819 billion stimulus bill he voted against last week. The freshman Idaho Democrat’s $174 billion proposal, titled the Strategic Targeted American Recovery and Transition Act, is intended to spur spending and create jobs immediately, Minnick said. The bill would: Strip health care provisions as well as the money that goes toward helping states cover shortfalls in their education and Medicaid budgets. Cut taxes $100 billion. Direct $20 billion toward modernizing schools and $50 billion for highway and bridge construction money. Put $4 billion toward job training. "My perspective on it was we should take out of that bill everything that doesn't create jobs right now, of the type that government should be spending money on, that have important private-sector multiplier effects," Minnick said. Minnick's proposal also requires that Congress strictly adhere to its own pay-as-you-go provisions, which require that any new spending be offset by cuts in other areas. Those rules could be waived only when there is negative economic growth for several quarters, Minnick said. Minnick was one of only 11 Democrats in the House to vote against the stimulus bill last week; all House Republicans voted against it. Minnick said some of the concepts “received rave reviews” from fellow members of the Blue Dog caucus, a coalition of fellow fiscally conservative Democrats. He is angling for co-sponsors and will present the bill as a whole to a working group the Blue Dogs are convening this weekend. Minnick said his proposal forces all of the money to be spent by the end of 2010. Democrats hope to have a finished stimulus package to President Barack Obama by the end of next week, but it seems increasingly unlikely they will meet their self-imposed deadline. The Senate version, now estimated to cost as much as $902 billion, has caused some Republican senators and moderate Democrats to balk at the price tag. "If the Senate continues to have difficulty with the administration bill, we will be looking for alternatives," Minnick said. "Because we must do something."