Armstrong, Beyer Slam Republicans for Refusing $125 Million in Stimulus Funds

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I just got off a conference call with House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong, former Lt. Governor Don Beyer, Thomas Kasper (President of Kasper Mortgage Company) and J.D. Simpson (laid-off transportation manager from Strasburg), responding to the Republican press conference earlier today explaining why they opposed $125 million in stimulus money for unemployed Virginians. Republicans also say there's no room for compromise on this issue. Here are the highlights:

Ward Armstrong
*After 3 weeks of being beaten up in the press and in the court of public opinion, the Republicans finally held a press conference today to respond.

*As the saying goes, they've "got some 'splain' to do."

*The Republicans' vote against accepting the $125 million in stimulus money was a vote against working people and businesses. In 2010, the unemployment trust fund will be insolvent, which will require a tax INCREASE. Why do Republicans think that will help business?

*None of what we're doing is permanent. We could review this whole issue in 2 years and change it if we want. The repeal of abusive driver fees is an example.

*It is inexcusable that Republicans turned their backs on this federal stimulus money, and all the excuses in the world or press conferences won't change that. Another 250 people just lost their jobs in Martinsville the other day.

*How can Republicans take credit for Virginia being the "best managed state" when they wouldn't even help us save our AAA bond rating?

*This is part of a pattern of Republicans making bad decisions. It's deja vu all over again, just like Jim Gilmore in 2000. There are political costs to this.

*The were chomping at the bit to take a swipe at Barack Obama. It drives them crazy how popular Obama is. Also, they seem to have an attitude of "anything Democrats propose, we'll be against it." They also tell me that they worked with Mark Warner and got hurt politically, so we're not doing that again.

Don Beyer
*The Republicans action, and defense of that action today, is fiscally irresponsible. Real Virginians are hurting and it doesn't make any sense not to take $125 million to help them.

*From a macroeconomic perspective, this makes no sense. During a recession, you want to stimulate the economy. Virginia Republicans are acting like Herbert Hoover. Instead of stimulating the economy, they just took $125 million away from Virginia and gave it to other states.

*This is politics at its worst, Republicans trying to stick a finger in the eye of President Obama (who, by the way, inherited this crisis and is working hard to turn around). It's said that to score a short-term political point, Virginia Republicans are willing to throw Virginians under the bus.

Tom Karper
*I'm flabbergasted by this. Human capital is our biggest asset and we need to take care of it.

*I'm still a registered Republican, but this is why I haven't voted for a Republican in a long time. This is "breathless in its irresponsibility."

J.D. Simpson
*I'm a father of three, and this money would have made our lives just a little easier in helping us through these rough times.

*It shocks me that the Republicans have lost sight of why they're in office.

P.S. According to the DPVA, "Since its launch last week the Stand Up for Virginia petition ( has gathered more than 9,000 signatures, including those of all three Democratic candidates for Governor."