Republicans are objecting to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the “Stimulus Package”) because of spending they deem wasteful. Such objections over small spending items risk jeopardizing more American jobs on a daily basis. One of the items they point to is “$248 million for furniture at the new Homeland Security headquarters.” This claim is misleading, and now the tiny investment for DHS is at risk of being stripped from the bill.
To put it in context, consider that the ~$800 billion package includes $430 billion in tax cuts, $114 billion for infrastructure projects, $138 billion for extending unemployment insurance, food stamps, and other forms of help to those in need, and $31 billion to address the housing crisis.
Here is what the legislation actually says the DHS investment is for:
“ for the ‘‘Office of the Under Secretary for Management’’, $248,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2011, solely for planning, design, and construction costs, including site security, information technology infrastructure, furniture, fixtures, and related costs to consolidate the Department of Homeland Security headquarters: Provided, That no later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Administrator of General Services, shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and the House of Representatives a plan for the expenditure of these funds.”
DHS employees labor away in a dismal office headquarters that is aged and ineffective for this agency’s important work. Wasteful? Hardly. These complaints are a distraction.