Republicans wasted little time pointing out items they said in no way qualified as emergency stimulus spending, such as $650 million to help television viewers convert from analog to digital. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio) took a swipe at several items, including $400 million the plan sets aside for "national treasures," including repairs of the walls of the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial.
"What we're seeing is disappointing," said Mr. Boehner. The package, he said, "appears to be grounded in the flawed notion that we can simply borrow and spend our way back to prosperity."
But the costly initiative also may split Democrats. Many newer Democratic members of Congress hail from conservative areas and are deeply concerned about fiscal discipline.
Recognizing the political pitfalls, Democrats announced an unusual series of spending safeguards for the plan. Governors and mayors will have to personally certify that every expenditure under their jurisdiction is appropriate. Program managers will be listed online so the public can hold them accountable. A special board will monitor the plan's operation.