WASHINGTON--Despite President Obama wooing Republicans in general and Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) in particular, the House on Friday afternoon passed the massive recession busting tax cut and spending bill with only Democratic votes. The legislation passed on a 246-183 roll call.
Obama made a personal appeal to Schock--who represents the Peoria area--when they both were at the Caterpillar plant in East Peoria on Thursday. Schock flew to the event on Air Force One.
Schock said he liked the ride--but did not hear anything that changed his mind. He took to the House floor on Friday to underscore his opposition to the Obama stimulus plan and to note that no one at Caterpillar asked for his vote.
"I had the privilege yesterday of traveling with the President to my hometown of Peoria, Illinois, to visit a company that's made the news recently - Caterpillar Corporation. And during that speech the President had me stand up in front of hundreds of my constituents and Caterpillar workers and urge them to call on me to support this bill and asked them to approach me after his speech to put pressure on me to vote for this bill," Schock said.
"I found it very interesting that after the President finished his speech and I stayed around, not one employee at that facility approached me and asked me to vote for this bill. In fact, I have received over 1,400 phone calls, e-mails, and letters from Caterpillar employees alone asking me to oppose this legislation.
"Why? Because they get it. They know that this bill is not stimulus. They know that this bill will not do anything to create long-term, sustained economic growth. This bill is too big to get it wrong.
"I hail from a district that once had Everett Dirksen. ... Everett Dirksen once said "a billion here, a billion there." Unfortunately, ladies and gentleman, we are now a trillion here, a trillion there. We cannot afford to get this wrong. It is too important to get it wrong. My district also had a man by the name of Abraham Lincoln who served in this seat for two years. We celebrated his 200th birth yesterday. I'm reminded of his quote, "what kills a skunk is the publicity it brings itself." Perhaps that is the haste by which this bill is being brought forward. I urge a no vote."