January 17th, 2008
04:55 PM ET
7 years ago

Bush rush on stimulus comments peeves Hill Democrats

Bush and Hill Democrats are discussing a stimulus package.
Bush and Hill Democrats are discussing a stimulus package.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Some congressional Democrats are criticizing President Bush for his decision to deliver remarks Friday outlining his principles regarding a stimulus package, saying the president should wait until lawmakers and the White House reach a compromise on what will be in the package before anything is unveiled.

One source went so far as to say a conference call between congressional leaders and the White House Thursday afternoon on the stimulus “didn’t go well” because of the president’s insistence on delivering the speech despite direct pleas from Democratic leaders to hold off.

Bush’s decision to go forward is unlikely to stall talks on the bill, one source said, but does detract from the bipartisan spirit that has marked talks this week on the proposal.

Shortly after the call, White House officials called back to congressional participants to ensure them the president’s remarks Friday would be general, according to two sources, including a Democratic leadership source.

The conference call was light on specifics of what should be in an economic stimulus package but “there seems to continue to be a consensus to try and do something together and that we should do it quickly,” the Democratic leadership source said.

Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson mentioned accelerating depreciation and the concept of rebates and said “there seems to be an agreement on rebates” the source said.

The White House did not push the notion of extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts which the Democratic leadership source described as “hugely helpful.”

After the discussion with President Bush Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters that he was encouraged by the acknowledgement of economic problems, but "disappointed that he is rejecting a request from leaders of both parties and both chambers to work with us directly to develop a bipartisan package rather than unilaterally detailing his own approach without Congressional input.

"The President’s strategy threatens to unnecessarily politicize the inevitable bipartisan negotiations we will need to quickly enact legislation."

UPDATE: Republican and Democratic House leaders emerged from an hour-and-a-half long meeting on the stimulus with very little detail on what will be in the package, but a continuing commitment to get something done quickly together.

Asked about Reid's charge that President Bush is moving ahead unilaterally, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md, said "my impression after the call is that the President's not going to go off unilaterally."

Hoyer said he had not talked directly to the White House about what the President would say, but that others have talked to Secretary Paulson.

House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, brushed off any suggestion that President was getting out ahead of leaders tomorrow with his planned remarks, potentially hurting bipartisan talks on the Hill, saying "all that was resolved.”

"He's going to talk about the problem, the need to respond, the need to work in a bipartisan way and probably outline some broad principles about what we ought to be doing,." Boehner said.

On whether the principles the President will outline match what Congressional leaders are discussing, Boehner said he didn’t know what principles Bush would lay out, but added that “I don’t think they'll be inconsistent with what we've been talking about."


–CNN's Ted Barrett and Deirdre Walsh

Filed under: Congress • President Bush
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. RealityKing

    Our pitifully partisian 110th do nothing liberal Congress has already shown us their best. God help us..

    January 18, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. CommonSense

    Candidates who attacked tax cuts for creating deficits, conveniently forget those deficits when pushing their own in an election year. -> Hillary Clinton.

    Candidates who attacked quick fixes for long-term economic ills have no trouble handing out $250 tax credits to get folks spending. -> Barack Obama.

    And candidates who voted against tax cuts because they were a bad idea, even in a slowing economy, have not a lick of concern proposing much the same tax cuts years later... in a slowing economy. -> John McCain.

    Conclusion:
    Politicians will do anything to get votes...

    January 18, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. JoAnn

    If I were Bush, I would take a walk in the park and admire the treasures, nature has offered us human beings. God has miraculous ways to communicate with sons of Adam. In the beauty of nature he may offer some comfort and give us a salavation, you never know.

    It not to every mere mortal on this earth, that God offers splendours of White House.

    Changing and directing life of mere mortals is a work that is best left to angels of corporate empires.

    January 18, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. Tired of W, OH

    Ca Native, you are a sad, sorry little man (or woman).

    The Democratic-controlled Congress can't get anything done because the Repubs and dubya continuously block them. Whenever the Dems try to pass a good piece of legislation (like SCHIP), dubya vetoes it because the Dems don't have a large enough majority to override the veto. The fact is that dubya and his Repub puppets don't want the Dems to accomplish anything because they don't want the Dems to be able to claim progress going into an election year.

    I know it's easier to spew the same old White House-issued rhetoric about a do-nothing Congress than it is to actually think for yourself, but try it. They are sacrificing the needs of the American people for the sake of politics!

    January 18, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. whitee

    Bob, the last time I looked, the oil prices are based on the world market, not the President.

    January 18, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. Ann

    Look, the dirty way the Democrats have trashed Bush in front of the world, he does not owe them anything, not one thing.

    January 19, 2008 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  7. stupid sheep

    It's sad how many babies are on this site whining about bush all day. he has been far from perfect, far, but lets not blame him for everyhting. god forbid we put a little blame on ourselves and our neighbors for the problems that we are facing as americans. what a sorry bunch of finger-pointing babies.

    January 19, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
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