Sunday Feb 08 2009
McClintock shifts into new role
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
GOP congressman has introduced first bill, voiced opposition to stimulus plan
U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock has been a vociferous opponent in Washington about plans to pump nearly $1 trillion into the economy through a new spending bill. But as a newcomer to D.C. politics, the veteran state legislator now serving as 4th District congressman has taken more tentative steps in introducing his own legislation. He did so last month, with introduction of his first bill, to honor former President Ronald Reagan on his Feb. 6 birthday. That date came and went Friday with McClintock’s bill at the committee level. McClintock said he’s co-signed several pieces of high-visibility legislation but used the Reagan bill as a testing ground. “Obviously, it’s not groundbreaking but it’s a good first bill to learn about the intricacies of the process,” McClintock said. “It’s called training wheels.” He has also taken his turn in speaking before the House on a number of issues, including his opposition to the President Obama-led stimulus package the congressman terms a bailout and a mistake. McClintock was with other Republican legislators for Obama’s visit with the GOP conference last week. “I was impressed even more with his sincerity,” McClintock said. “He made it clear his legacy would be judged by his response to the economy. But the policies he’s pursuing are exactly the wrong way to deal with a recession.” McClintock said that doing the math on the latest stimulus package numbers should sound an alarm. Obama’s estimate that three million to four million new jobs would be created sounded good, McClintock said. But doing the math, McClintock said he was dismayed to find that the $825 billion the federal government is considering spending in the Obama stimulus package comes to $275,000 a job. “The amount being thrown around is absolutely staggering,” the congressman said. McClintock spent 22 years in the state Legislature before vaulting to Congress this year as Northern California’s 4th District representative. He succeeds U.S. Rep. John Doolittle, who retired rather than seek re-election after a close win over Democrat Charlie Brown in 2006. In the November election, McClintock, a conservative Republican, edged out Brown by less than 2,000 votes. Since being sworn in Washington, McClintock has regularly returned on weekends to his district and his Elk Grove home. He said that he’s hoping to get his current home on the market next month, with the intention of relocating in the 4th District. “The problem is the housing market is so bad it may take awhile,” McClintock said. He reiterated that his new home would probably be in South Placer County. The way Congress schedules its weeks, McClintock said he can take a return flight out of Washington late Thursday and return on a plane to D.C. Monday in time to catch voting late in the day. McClintock was on the go Friday, with visits to the site of the Idaho-Maryland Mine in Nevada County, a Roseville junior high school, Union Pacific railyards and a confab organized by Assemblyman Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, with area city managers. While not directly involved in an effort to locate a western campus of Philadelphia’s Drexel University near Roseville, McClintock said he supports the idea. “I think the community should welcome a private university,” he said. “It will mean more jobs in the area and greater educational opportunities. Given the economy, people are beginning to realize the importance of employers to the area.” With Folsom in a Stage 3 water alert in two weeks because of drought conditions and concerns about keeping up water releases into the delta area to assist the Delta smelt fish population, McClintock said a key component for future water needs continues to be the Auburn dam. “If it was completed by now, it would have added another 2.3 million acre-feet of water storage, and we’d probably not be talking about a drought alert,” he said. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment at Auburnjournal.com.