* If you clicked on this link in yesterday’s Morning Shorts, you saw that per capita “stimulus bill” spending in Illinois is in the top tier. Only a small handful of states fare better than us.
But even more money may be on its way…
Top Democrats plan to add a big increase in highway and mass transit funding to President Barack Obama’s economic recovery program Tuesday, even as others in the president’s party hope to rein in the plan’s almost $1 trillion cost to taxpayers.
A move by Patty Murray, D-Wash., to add $25 billion in infrastructure projects is first in line as the Senate begins thrashing through dozens of proposed changes to the sprawling $885 billion measure.
Murray’s plan would increase the money in the bill for highway projects by almost 50 percent, to $40 billion, reflecting complaints from lawmakers in both parties that Obama’s plan doesn’t do enough to relieve a backlog of unfinished projects. Mass transit programs would get a $5 billion boost, while water projects would get $7 billion more.
The Illinois delegation ought to bump up the mass transit number even higher.
* Despite that above story, some Republican House members who voted against their chamber’s version are leaning in favor of the new Senate bill…
[GOP Congressman Mark Kirk]: “I think a stimulus package is necessary. And the one that will emerge from the Senate will have more infrastructure spending, more tax relief for small businesses to hire and less social spending on accounts that have little to do with economic developments.”
A new poll by USA Today could explain why some GOPs are starting to rethink their position. The article itself is horribly written, but here’s the best money quotes I could find…
Americans overwhelmingly want Congress to pass an economic stimulus bill, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, but expectations are low that it will help their families or turn the economy around this year. […]
While 17% say Congress should reject a stimulus bill altogether, those who want a stimulus passed are evenly divided over whether Obama’s plan should undergo major changes.
They never tell you what percentage of the population wants the bill passed. Goofballs.
* Meanwhile, Rep. Kirk had some kind words for state Rep. John Fritchey…
A Republican congressman from Chicago’s north suburbs could be open to endorsing a Democratic candidate for Congress. Mark Kirk says he’s done a lot of work with State Representative John Fritchey of Chicago. Kirk laughed when asked if he’ll make an endorsement in the fifth district special election.
KIRK: I told him I would either condemn him or endorse him, which ever helps.
A spokesman for Fritchey says he’s glad the representative’s reputation as an effective legislator is widespread. He adds that Kirk and Fritchey would be on opposite sides of many issues if they serve together.
Fritchey, by the way, was endorsed by the Illinois Federation of Teachers yesterday. That comes on the heels of an AFSCME endorsement. The Illinois AFL-CIO nod may not be far away.
*** UPDATE *** Or not…
The Service Employees International Union plans to endorse state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D) in her bid for former Rep. Rahm Emanuel’s (D) House seat, the Chicago Business Journal reports.
[ *** End of Update *** ]
* Durbin looking for dollars in Washington: Durbin’s office estimates that the Senate version could save or create over 200,000 jobs across Illinois by the end of 2010 and could bring $25 billion in federal funding.
* Illinois health care and the economic stimulus package
* Highlights of Senate’s economic stimulus plan
* Competition High for Stimulus Funds
* Schock selected to serve on subcommittees
* Rep. Halvorson pledges to support veterans at stop in Normal
* Feigenholtz has the campaign cash lead, but wants more money for federal bid