Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson, who is a Democrat, told CNN’s State of the Union that it is unclear if some of the investment elements in the bill will actually create jobs.
“I like parts of it that are based on infrastructure, which I think truly will create jobs,” he said Sunday.
But he said there’s “an awful lot” of spending initiatives including in the bill that are only “marginally supportive and stimulative for jobs.”
Pointing to proposed expenditures on physician studies and smoking cessation programs, Nelson said “they are important programs…but they ought to be part of something else, not part of a job stimulus bill.”
Like Nelson, Maine Senator Susan Collins said the bill was weighed down with projects that will not create jobs.
“Unfortunately, this bill has become a Christmas tree where members are hanging their favourite program on it,” Collins, who is a Republican, told State of the Union.
“A lot of these programs are worthwhile, but we have to focus on what the impact is on the economy and whether or not the spending creates or saves jobs,” she said Sunday.
“That’s the question, that’s the test that needs to be passed.”
While Senate members appear skeptical that the House version of the bill will be an effective way to create jobs and stimulate the economy, they do say that it is possible to work together to make it into a much more effective piece of legislation.
Both Collins and Nelson admitted they would not be able to support the stimulus bill in its current form, but they remained optimistic that the two sides of the Senate will collaborate to make needed changes.
“I’m very committed to making sure that we get it scrubbed clean of many of these programs,” said Nelson.
“Our goal is to have a bill that is both bipartisan and effective, that’s what we want,” Collins said.
“At the same time, our constituents don’t want to see a bloated, overly expensive bill that wastes money and targets funding for programs that aren’t going to make a difference,” she added.
Senator Susan Collins of Maine speaks with Jim Angle of Fox News about the Senate’s work on the stimulus bill