Just yesterday, President Obama went to the Caterpillar plant in East Peoria, Illinois and the urged Caterpillar employees to lobby their congressman, Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill to support the stimulus package.
Singling Schock out in front of his constituents, the President asked the 27-year-old legislator to stand up.
“Aaron’s still trying to make up his mind about our recover package,” Obama said to the employees in the crowd. “And so we know that all of you are going to talk to him after our event, because he's a very talented young man. I've got great confidence in him to do the right thing for the people of Peoria.”
Today Rep. Schock said on the House floor that "I found it very interesting that after the president finished his speech and I stayed around, not one employee at that facility approached me and asked me to vote for this bill."
In fact, said Schock, “I have received over 1,400 phone calls, e-mails and letters from employees alone asking me to oppose this legislation."
Why!? Because, Schock said, "They know that this bill is not stimulus. They know that this bill will not do anything to create long-term, sustained economic growth. This bill is too big to get it wrong.”
The congressman said that the bill is concerning because it is very light on infrastructure spending.
Schock quoted Obama’s favorite hometown President, Abraham Lincoln, “I’m reminded of his quote, ‘what kills a skunk is the publicity it brings itself’ – perhaps that is the haste by which this bill is being brought forward. I urge a 'No' vote.”
Asked by ABC News about Schock's comments and the lack of constituents apparently lobbying him, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs at today's briefing said "if the congressman goes back and evaluates the plan, lobbying or not, I think he'll see that it saves or creates millions of jobs, puts people back to work,...would put money directly into employees at Caterpillar's pockets, as well as people throughout his district."
Gibbs added, "I think, if the congressman goes and looks at the bill through an economic lens, not just one -- not just through a political one, I think he'll see benefits not just for his district and his state, but for the entire country."
Schock is a first term Congressman, just recently replacing Republican Congressman Ray LaHood who left his seat to become the President’s Transportation Secretary. LaHood had replaced former House Minority Leader Bob Michel, R-Ill., for whom he had served as chief of staff.
The president yesterday described both LaHood and Michel as "Republicans I love." No word on his feelings towards Schock.
-- Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller
UPDATE: Responding to Gibbs, Dave Natonski, Communications Director for Congressman Schock tells ABC News that "Congressman Schock was looking through an economic lens when he voted against the stimulus package, as it doesn’t take an economic expert to realize this so-called stimulus package was nothing more than wasteful, pork-barreled spending that would stimulate the government, not the economy."
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