This vote was on an amendment by Judd Gregg, R-N.H., that would have prohibited economic stimulus funding from being used to pay for signs indicating that a project is being funded by the economic stimulus law. The amendment was offered to the bill that funds transportation and housing programs in fiscal 2010.
“Today there are a lot of projects being pursued under the stimulus package, and every one of those projects that is a road project, unfortunately, finds itself having to put up a sign that says this is a good project being paid for with tax dollars. These are self-congratulatory signs. They are political signs. They are there so lawmakers can pat themselves on the back and say: Wow, look at this project we are doing,” Gregg said. “But these signs cost money. Actually, when you add them all up, they cost a lot of money. They are a total waste of money.”
Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said it is standard practice for road agencies to put up a sign containing information for citizens letting them know about major work that is underway and how it is being funded
“We would put up a sign to let people know who is funding the program, to let people know whether it is a State project, a local project. No big deal. We did this—and we do this—under Republican leadership, under Democratic leadership. It is information,” Boxer said.
She suggested that the real reason for Gregg’s amendment is because Republicans are still bitter that the economic stimulus law was passed at all.
“I think the true source of this amendment is a frustration. This is my own opinion. I am sure my friend absolutely would not agree with me, but it is my sense that there is a frustration by the people who voted no on the Economic Recovery Act, the stimulus bill; there is a frustration that it is working. They predicted gloom and doom,” she said.
By a vote of 45-52, the amendment was rejected. Every Republican present voted for the amendment. All but five Democrats present voted against the amendment. The end result is that the measure went forward without language that would have prohibited economic stimulus funds from being used to pay for signs stating that the project was funded by the stimulus.