Senate Finance Chairman: Congress Must Spend Money to ‘Show it Cares’

By Matt Cover | December 10, 2008 | 5:02 PM EST

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee

Washington ( – Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said the federal government is going to have to spend a “significant” amount of money if it is going to get the country out of its current economic troubles -- despite rapidly ballooning federal deficits, historic unemployment, and the hundreds of billions already spent.
“One thing we’ve learned from past recessions, is that you’ve just got to spend money to get out of it,” he said, in response to questions from
Baucus said there wasn’t any formula behind that spending, saying that it would be up to Congress to determine the best course for economic recovery.
“We just have to use our best judgment (because) there’s no science to this,” the senator explained. “We just have to spend some significant money.”
Baucus, speaking to reporters Wednesday about financial issues for 2009, said that government needs to spend big not only to create jobs, but to let the public know it cares.“You start to send the psychological signal that Congress doesn’t care,” Baucus said. “What are people going to do then, if they think Congress doesn’t care?”
Baucus then paradoxically called for budgetary reform, saying that there has to be a federal plan to start paying back the national debt. The Montana Democrat refused to elaborate on the details of a proposal despite being pressed by
“We’ve got to pay down the debt, (it) is getting bigger and bigger,” Baucus said. “The question is, when are we going to start paying the dues? We have got to start paying them.”
Baucus said that he has been talking with Senate Democratic leadership about the deficit, and feels that there will be a plan in place “sooner rather than later.”
“My sense is that, and I have talked with the leadership about this, we have got to start to put a process in place virtually now, early next month; (one) which addresses debts and deficits in 2010. I’m not saying what that process is. It’s a process which is very speculative,” he said.
When asked about the possibility of new taxes being included in the plan, Baucus said that it was something that needed to be addressed earlier rather than later.
“We don’t know about that yet,” Baucus said. “I’m just saying that we’ve got to think about that early on.”