Nebraska senators may not support stimulus plan

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Friday, January 30, 2009

United States Senator Ben Nelson, Nebraska.
Image: United States Senate.

The two federal senators of Nebraska are not sure if they will be backing President Barack Obama's $819 billion dollar stimulus plan, in spite of approval of the bill given by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The bill will support Nebraska with around $378 million to help the state budget for the next two years, and will also give the state an extra $230 million to be spent on infrastructure construction and repair.

Nebraskan Sen. Ben Nelson (Democrat) said allotting $1.1 billion for medical research was troublesome. Nelson wants to see more jobs created for Nebraskans, and believes the bill is not truly stimulus, but rather constitutes additional spending. Republican Sen. Mike Johanns agreed mostly with Nelson, but also pointed out the stimulus money for the National Endowment for the Arts as a form of job creation.

Nelson stated that Nebraska will receive around $250 million dollars for highway construction from the stimulus plan, with no need for the state to match the funding. Around 27 billion dollars in highway funds are found in stimulus appropriations, which Nelson said he supported as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The package is also said to set aside money to help build hospitals in rural areas, as well as community health centers. Money for the construction and repair of veterans medical facilities, and funding to help drinking and wastewater infrastructure are also included.

Sen. Johanns commented that he thinks none of it will be paid for, but instead will be funded by floating debt.

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