Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bipartisan 101: Senators Want to Make Sure Only American Citizens Get Stimulus Plan Jobs, "Gang of 14" Bonds Together To Fight Obama/Pelosi Pork Bill

"We need to sit down and see who owns these projects. We need to keep (the bill's cost in check) and see if we cant change around what's underneath that to create more jobs." -- Democrat Senator Ben Nelson from Nebraska.

Despite the myriad arguments about whether the Economic Recovery/Liberal Wish List Spending Bill will actually create any jobs, at least 2 Senators have real American interests in mind.

Fox News has learned the "Gang of 14" is re-emerging to reduce pork and to create real jobs!

  • Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who famously gathered Republicans and Democrats in a so-called "Gang of 14" to avert a shutdown of the Senate over judicial nominations, is aiming for similar bipartisanship in the stimulus debate. Nelson told FOX News he has invited a group to his office Friday to see if more can be done to create jobs in the stimulus bill -- such as a major boost in funding for infrastructure projects, which appeal to many of his colleagues.

  • "We need to focus this on getting people back to work quickly," Nelson said.

  • The "Gang of 14" compromise in 2006 displeased many conservatives. Republicans controlled both houses of Congress at the time, and those involved in the compromise group agreed to take some of the party's power options off the table in exchange for Democratic promises not to filibuster Bush's judicial nominees except under "extreme circumstances."

  • Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate who was a member of the original "Gang" and a close friend of Nelson's from their time on the Senate Armed Services Committee, got an invite, as has Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Nelson's energy compromise group colleague. On the Democratic side, Nelson has reached out to Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., a strong ally of President Obama, as well as Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and freshman Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.

  • "Warner's a former governor, so he gets it," said Nelson, himself a popular former governor, in Nebraska.

A for Effort Mr. Nelson and Mr. Sessions! Bravo.

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) are urging Senate leaders to include provisions in the massive economic stimulus bill to guarantee that jobs created by the recovery package go to American citizens, not illegal immigrants.

In a co-authored letter, Nelson and Sessions argue that the use of E-Verify, the government’s citizenship verification program, should be required for businesses benefiting from the stimulus package. The E-Verify system allows employers to quickly check a prospective employee’s information against the government’s immigration databases. The program currently operates on a voluntary basis.

The senators say the program should be mandatory for jobs created by the stimulus.“With so many Americans out of work today, this economic recovery package must focus on the creation and retention of jobs,” said Senator Nelson.

“We must do our best to make sure that the jobs this package creates and supports go to the American people.”

Nelson and Sessions said that inclusion of a mandatory E-Verify provision would be a “key factor” as they evaluate the spending proposal.“American taxpayers are going to pay for every penny of this massive stimulus bill if Congress approves it,” Sessions said. “The purpose of the package is to create new jobs for Americans. One common-sense way to ensure that lawful citizens benefit from the proposal is to require businesses to check a job applicant’s legal status using the E-Verify system.”

Read the full letter to Senate Leadership here.

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