Dog days: Stimulus vote will test Boren, others

The Oklahoman Editorial Modified: January 28, 2009 at 4:17 am •  Published: January 28, 2009
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Politics in Washington is about hard choices. The $825 billion economic stimulus plan backed by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats is a case in point. Just ask U.S. Rep. Dan Boren.

Boren, D-Muskogee, is a member of the House’s Blue Dog coalition, a group of fiscally conservative Democrats who frequently are at odds with the chamber’s more liberal leadership.

Boren supports the stimulus bill’s mix of tax cuts and government spending to boost the economy. But he isn’t comfortable with the Christmas tree approach taken by the primary authors of the bill — who initially loaded it up with millions of dollars for family planning, restorative work for the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and other items.

Boren said Tuesday that funding for contraceptives has been eliminated, but it’s still a tough vote, one that’s scheduled today. Boren probably will vote yes, but not without misgivings. "I’m not happy with it,” he said. The bill borrows billions of dollars, which cuts against the Blue Dogs’ preference that spending be paid for up front.

We think there are enough boondoggles and unstimulative, wasteful items in the bill to earn a "no” vote. Yet we respect Boren’s position that though the legislation isn’t what he would have written, it’s likely to pass.

And it will. Yet the experience is valuable for cost-conscious members of Congress. They’ll be presented new hard choices on spending and will have to dig in even more to see that their principles are fully considered.


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