Louisiana Democratic legislators take a stand against Gov. Jindal’s opposition to the stimulus package

February 26, 2009

Yesterday on the steps of the State Capitol in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Democratic legislators forcefully responded to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s speech and Republican response to President Obama’s speech to Congress. Reps. Austin Badon, Rickey Hardy, Reed Henderson, Sam Jones, and Pat Smith were there, joined by Speaker Pro-Tem Karen Carter-Peterson and Sen. Yvonne Dorsey. Coverage from media around the state:

Legislators criticize Jindal’s response:

Democratic legislators accused Gov. Bobby Jindal Wednesday of allowing his political ambitions to dictate his response to the federal economic package. The lawmakers vowed to thwart the governor’s decision to reject $98.4 million that would increase the number of people who can receive unemployment benefits.

“Gov. Jindal needs to take care of our house now and worry about the White House later,” said state Rep. Rickey Hardy, D-Lafayette.

Democratic lawmakers tell Jindal to focus on Louisiana:

The day after Gov. Bobby Jindal’s first televised speech to the nation, Democratic state lawmakers charged the governor with political posturing and said Jindal needs to focus on Louisiana, rather than Washington. The group of seven legislators criticized Jindal’s opposition to parts of the $787 billion federal stimulus package, joining national Democrats who say the governor is using the stimulus to further his own political career at Louisiana’s expense.

“Gov. Jindal is simply parroting the national Republican Party talking points and not acting in the best interests of the state of Louisiana,” said Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge.

Lawmakers respond: Democrats say Jindal wrong on stimulus:

The national stimulus package could create 50,000 new jobs in Louisiana, provide relief for farmers and fishermen, provide additional Pell grant money for college students, offer money to employ police officers and earmark $75 million for Interstate 49 in Louisiana, the Democrats said.

The stimulus package earmarks $35 million for an overpass along U.S. Route 90 at Patoutville in Iberia Parish, [Sam] Jones said. That would bring the intersection up to interstate standards as part of the conversion of U.S. 90 to Interstate 49 South. The package contains another $42 million for I-49 North, he said. “It doesn’t make sense for us to turn this money down,” Jones said.

Demos gear up to fight Jindal for stimulus money:

Setting the stage for a potential confrontation with the governor in the upcoming legislative session, several state Democratic lawmakers said Wednesday they plan to support a bill to expand the state’s unemployment benefits along the lines stipulated in President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan. … Rep. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, said Jindal should accept the money and new rules to help those out of work.

“It is insane. It is irresponsible,” Carter Peterson said of Jindal’s action.

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