As negotiators in Washington work to hammer out a compromise between conflicting House and Senate versions of a federal stimulus plan, Congressman Steve Kagen stumps for the House version. In a conference call with reporters, the Appleton Democrat says he wants federal stimulus money for education and infrastructure. "Investing in America's infrastructure, not in Iraq," says Kagen. "If we're going to build a courthouse, it should not be in Bagdhad, it should be in Green Bay."
Kagen is clearly not wild over the $838 billion Senate version of the stimulus plan. "I'm looking forward to seeing what the (House-Senate) conference committee comes forward with," says Kagen, "I voted for the House version of the bill because I felt it would be good for our economy and would generate millions of new jobs."
So, could he vote for a final package that looks more like the Senate version? "I would like to see us prevail," says Kagen. "I'm counting on Dave Obey." Obey, Kagen's fellow Democrat from Wausua, is chair of the powerful House Appropriation Committee and was key player in crafting the House stimulus package. What happens in Washington this, says Kagen, will chart the economy's course for the next century. "We have to get it right," he says. "There is no room for errors in judgment."
Governor Jim Doyle says Wisconsin will receive $600 million less under the Senate plan, and predicted "teachers and firefighters and police officers" will lose their jobs as a result.