Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) commended House Republicans for not backing the Obama administration's $825 billion stimulus plan, and encouraged them to offer their own, market-oriented alternatives.

"Thank you for the vote you took this week," Romney told House Republicans on retreat in Virginia this weekend. "You stood strong. You stood for principle. You put the best interests of the American people ahead of politics."

"We need to stimulate the economy, not the government," Romney added. "A true stimulus package, one that respects the productivity and genius of the American people, could lift this country out of recession."

In a speech centered on business and economics, Romney encouraged the lawmakers to stand strong as an opposition party while Democrats control both houses of Congress and the presidency.