Why local representative Johnson, republicans vote no on stimulus package

By Kate Szyszka

As President Barack Obama’s proposed stimulus package attempts to make it through the Senate, the office of local Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Ill., shed some light on why he and other House Republicans unanimously voted against the package, which passed the House with a 244 to 188 vote.

“Congressman Johnson was very opposed to the version that came through the house,” said said Phil Bloomer, press secretary for Johnson.

Johnson agreed with some aspects of the package.

“There are things that he supports, middle class tax relief, infrastructure spending, what little there is in there,” Bloomer said. “He supports extension of unemployment benefits.”

Representative Johnson also had concerns with the package that would impact the local economy.

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“In this area we’ve experienced some immunity from economic downturns in the past,” Bloomer said. “But today we are not immune to that.”

Johnson did not see promise for job growth in ideas offered in the proposed stimulus package.

“Everyday you open the newspaper theres new layoffs, we need people to get back to work,” Bloomer said. “You dont do that by thrpwong money at programs like national endownment for the arts, it’s not an engine of job creation.”

Johnson saw promise in FutureGen, a part of the stimulus package that House Republicans cut from the plan.

“We have a great example in our own backyard, its called FutureGen,” Bloomer said.

FutureGen is a project that came to life in 2003. It paired the Department of Energy with coal and power companies to prove the carbon dioxide released from burning coal on a commercial scale could be safely stored underground rather than released into the atmosphere.