CBC Leader Says Cost of 99ers Bill is "Prohibitive"April 5, 2011 - by Donny Shaw
In an exchange during their meeting last Wednesday with the President, CBC Chair Emanuel Cleaver called the cost of the 99ers bill (H.R. 589 sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee of California) “prohibitive.”
In Rep. Cleaver’s words: “It was what I expected because my staff had done a lot of research on it. And we found that the cost of that program would be between $14 and 20 billion dollars which is cost prohibitive. So there was no point in the President saying, ‘yeah I support it…’ when I laid it out I said to him, ‘Mr. President, I’m going to raise this, and this is one of our issues because this is one of our issues — it’s an issue among our members…’ I ended it by saying, however, I understand that the cost is enormous. He (President Obama) said (to Rob Nabors [Obama Admin legislative director] sitting on the sofa) ‘Rob how much is it?’ And Rob said, ‘between 14 and 20 billion’ and I said, let’s move on. Because there was no point — that’s not going to happen,” recounted Cleaver.
Of course, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver [D, MO-5] has never been the strongest advocate for 99ers legislation and President Obama doesn’t control Congress’ legislative agenda. Reps. Bobby Scott [D, VA-3] and Barbara Lee [D, CA-9] are the ones who have been fighting for this, and they have a meeting with the Republican House leadership on Thursday to discuss offsets that could be used to cover the costs of the legislation. Still, if Cleaver cared about this, he wouldn’t have approached this as a dead issue when he had the chance to get the President on board.
Cleaver is pictured above.