A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

In late July, U.S. Congressman Gary Peters told a national news site that he was frustrated with deficit spending and was part of a revolt by four junior House Democrats.

But less than a month later, Peters voted "yes" Tuesday on a $26 billion spending bill that was passed to bail states out of their budget shortfalls. Democrats said the bill was saving teachers' jobs, but Republicans said it was a payoff to unions.

"I'm reminded of St. Augustine's pre-holiness prayer, 'Lord make me pure, but not today.' " Jack McHugh, senior legislative analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, wrote in an e-mail. "The Lord will certainly forgive transgressions. We'll see whether voters are as charitable."

Peters, a Democrat from Bloomfield Township, faces Republican challenger Rocky Raczkowski in the the 9th District in November.

But a Peters' spokesman said the bill didn't add to the federal deficit.

"This bill saves over 300,000 American jobs without adding a penny to the deficit by closing a $26 billion offshore tax-saving loophole," said Cullen Schwarz, Peters' chief of staff. "We can either continue to allow that money to be funneled into offshore tax shelters or save jobs to benefit our kids here at home."

Michael LaFaive of the Mackinac Center said Americans realize this is a spending bill paid for by taxes.

"One man's loophole closing is another man's tax hike," said LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative. "Closing a loophole is the equivalent of raising taxes on someone or something. These offshore havens are attractive for a reason. Capital will move where it is welcomed and depart when it is not. Americans won't recognize this as a completely free lunch. They will rationally expect everyone to pay higher taxes in the future."

In an article in Politico in July, Peters was quoted as saying he was frustrated with Democratic leadership. Schwarz said that Democratic leadership hasn't put any serious budget cuts on the table.

Tuesday's $26 billion bill will give $300 million to school districts and $300 million to Medicaid in Michigan, according to Tiffany Brown, a spokeswoman for Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

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See also:

Gary Peters' 'Deathbed Conversion'

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