Barney Frank: $787-Billion Stimulus Plan Could Have Been 20 Percent Bigger -- $943 Billion

By Nicholas Ballasy | March 11, 2009 | 4:00 PM EDT

( – The $787-billion economic stimulus plan signed into law in February could have been 20 percent larger, or about $943 billion, according to Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. 

Frank made his remarks following a speech at the National Community Action Foundation’s (NCAF) annual conference, at which House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wisc.) also said the recovery package should have been “bigger.”
“Yeah, I agree” with Obey, Rep. Frank told  “I thought [Fed Chairman] Ben Bernanke’s testimony helped with that. I think the terrible economic situation Obama has inherited was so bad that it [economic stimulus package] could have been 20 percent bigger.”

The final version of the economic stimulus law cost $787 billion – adding 20 percent to the bill would make it slightly more than $943 billion.
During his speech to the NCAF, Congressman Frank made a case for the legislation. He said the “deregulation” of the last eight years under President George W. Bush helped cause the current financial crisis.
“We told the conservatives who were intellectually dominant for too much of this period that they were wrong,” said Frank.  “They had a very simple view. Namely, if you are nice to capital -- if you let the people with money alone, if you don’t tax them, if you don’t regulate them, if you don’t try to restrict their ability internationally to send their money wherever they want – we’ll all be better off.”
But “reality has kicked the daylights out of their theories and that gives us the opportunity to make the changes that need to be made,” said Frank.
ExxonMobil recently gave the NCAF a $5 million grant to weatherize homes. The NCAF also is receiving $5 billion from the economic stimulus bill, which Congressman Obey and his committee authored, to do the same weatherization work.

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