Conservative groups back bill to defund remaining stimulus

A coalition of conservative groups has launched a campaign to defund what it calls wasteful stimulus projects that have yet to be implemented.

The coalition, led by the group Let Freedom Ring, has launched a website with an online petition and is getting behind defunding legislation to be introduced Thursday by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.).

{mosads}The “Defund the Stimulus” campaign comes after some Republicans have called for withholding funding for implementation of Wall Street reform legislation and the Obama administration’s healthcare-reform law.

According to Let Freedom Ring President Colin Hanna, the coalition has worked on the defunding effort with Duffy and the Republican Study Committee (RSC), which estimates the remaining stimulus funds to be in the tens of billions.

Hanna said the coalition, which also includes Americans for Tax Reform and the Restore the Dream Foundation, will unveil Monday exactly how much is left over.

“We asked the staff [of the RSC] to make an estimate of the amount of unspent money in the stimulus bill, to total up the various payments and see what it come to,” Hanna said. “The idea is to rescind the previously approved funding.”

According to Alex Cortes, the coordinator of the coalition’s campaign website, the coalition expects Duffy’s bill to pass the House easily. He said it could attract the support of some Democratic senators up for reelection in 2012 in states where the stimulus is unpopular.

“I think that puts these vulnerable 2012 senators in a tough bind,” Cortes said. “So how will they vote?”

Cortes said the coalition is providing “significant grassroots support” for Duffy’s bill.

Since the Obama administration passed the $819 billion stimulus bill in early 2009, President Obama and some economists have contended it has helped the economy stave off economic catastrophe but Republicans have argued it is excessive Democratic spending.

Read Rep. Duffy’s invitation for members of Congress to co-sponsor his bill here.

—This post was updated at 7:08 p.m.

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