Republican lawmakers are raising concerns that ACORN, the low-income advocacy group under investigation for voter registration fraud, could be eligible for billions in aid from the economic stimulus proposal working its way through the House.
House Republican Leader John Boehner issued a statement over the weekend noting that the stimulus bill wending its way through Congress provides $4.19 billion for "neighborhood stabilization activities."
He said the money was previously limited to state and local governments, but that Democrats now want part of it to be available to non-profit entities. That means groups like ACORN would be eligible for a portion of the funds. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., told FOX News Tuesday that the money could be seen as "payoff" for groups' political activities in the last election. ACORN generally supports Democratic candidates and actively backed President Obama last year.
But he said the funding is just one example of frivolous spending items in the $825 billion package.
"It's just a long list of spending items. Not a real economic stimulus job creation bill," Vitter said. "It's line after line after line of favorite liberal spending programs, and it amounts to a big government bill -- not a job creation bill."
Democratic leaders in the House have already dropped federal funding from the bill for new contraceptive services and ongoing programs to stop sexually transmitted diseases after Obama told them that it did not fit in with the job-creating objectives of the package.
Obama plans to meet with Republican leaders on Capitol Hill Tuesday to hear some their input on the package. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama is open to suggestions.