The newly-restored Senator Judd Gregg fired his first salvo at the administration he left today. Gregg announced his opposition to Porkulus, telling reporters that the spending is not well considered:
A day after dropping out of cabinet contention, New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg says he will vote against the $787 billion stimulus package.
Gregg said Friday the package contains a great deal of money that isn’t well spent. He said he can support a robust stimulus package that focuses more on shoring up the real estate market and keeping people in their homes. He said it also should have focused more aggressively on small business tax breaks.
This comes as no great shock after Gregg’s withdrawal yesterday as Commerce Secretary nominee. He cited his dissatisfaction with the stimulus package as one reason for his exit, along with the power play by Rahm Emanuel on the census. Gregg had refused to vote for the bill in the Senate when it was first considered, an abstention widely seen as a passive expression of unhappiness with the Democrats over their insistence on locking out Republicans.
Now, though, Gregg has a lot more credibility after Barack Obama’s selection of him and his own brand of fiscal conservatism, and that means that he can bring more pressure to bear on Porkulus. If Gregg gets vocal enough about these shortcomings, it will be virtually impossible for the media to treat him as some sort of fiscal radical, given Obama’s earlier stamp of approval. He could push his fellow Northeastern Republicans — Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Arlen Specter — into a very tight corner this afternoon.
All he has to do is convince two of the three to force Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Obama back to the negotiating table. Can he do it? I’d give it long odds at this point, but we’ll have to wait and see.