January 17th, 2008
04:55 PM ET
10 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. Eric in Massachusetts

    Stop acting like babies and worrying about who gets credit. Just do something!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 17, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. shaun

    Can someone please lock the white house door on bush until after the economic stimulus package is implemented. We don't need bush to stop the bipartisanship right now, we need bush to sit down and shut up...

    January 17, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  3. Bob, Roxboro, NC

    What can one expect from a Macheivellian lout like Bush? Our current president appears to be a legend in his own mind.

    We had better not turn oor heads to spit. This guy has a year in office with which to do as much harm to the general population as he possibly can. Let's try and keep him from succeeding.

    January 17, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  4. From The North

    Well George is the "Decider" right. Whatever decision is made you can be guaranteed it will be resurrected, stamped and sealed by George.
    It has never changed and never will till he leaves the White House.
    Good Luck Democrats in dealing with the Man who is an Island onto

    January 17, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  5. Adam

    Is this guy still president? [Groan]

    January 17, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  6. John G, New York, NY

    This from the man who is the "uniter, not a divider"...

    January 17, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  7. therealist

    Bipartisan Spirit?? Surely you jest.., and obviously know nothing of the 110th Congress.

    I don’t think we can get 10 Democrats to support it,” said one aide

    In early positioning over the issue, Democrats had bluntly warned Republicans making permanent the controversial tax cuts was a non-starter and that a protracted battle over the issue could stall speedy passage of a stimulus package.

    “Renewing the Bush tax cuts, which don’t expire until the end of 2010, should be off the table because they will thwart any chance of passing any stimulus,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, a leading Democrat on the issue.

    January 17, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  8. Teacher

    Its his pile of DOODOO LET HIM CLEAN IT UP.

    January 17, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  9. Tom, TX

    Nothing this monkey-in-a-suit does will make me believe him. This is the same liar that destroyed e-mails because he didn't want to be implicated in the Valerie Plame case. Now it comes to light that this administration backed-up over the backup tapes and hence all evidence has been destroyed.

    This idiot and his Republican sheep are the cause for all of America's problems. Not only do we now owe the world and our money isn't worth much, countries don't even believe us anymore. I would never have thought that one president could do so much damage.

    And the Republicans talk about Bill? Bill is a saint compared to this traitor.

    January 17, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  10. Mike, Houston, TX

    The dems are made because Bush didn't accomodate them? They are getting the respect they deserve.

    January 17, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  11. Robert

    How does DC "stimulate" the economy?

    Racketeering, most likely.

    Consider this: nearly 33% of the federal budget is spent on our national debt. That consumes a majority of income taxes. The reason we borrowed the money: to pay for needless wars and weapons. Look at Reagan's defense spending – I mean, I guess we could sell all the nukes, but that's going to be viewed as quite irresponsible. Nevertheless, we applaud the "cold warriors" who demanded such devices only capable of mutually assured destruction could be built.

    The sub-prime mortgage bubble has burst, but let's call it what it was called when Greenspan pushed for it: a STIMULUS PACKAGE.

    What about the depreciating dollar? This has been a major issue since 1971, when the ties between our dollar and gold were severed (although we should note they continually weakened since 1913). Why has our dollar declined in value? Because its value is defined by the will of politicians and big bankers. Economic stimulus = easy credit = new money = depreciating dollar.

    Wonder why medical care costs so much? Ask the federal government, which became a larger payer into the healthcare industry than the entire private sector when it started medicare/caid, designed to selectively lower health care costs (to $0 for the patient, actually). Apparently, mandating care for the needy has no means of cost containment for working Americans. So...working Americans are demanding free care as well...at someone ELSE's dime.

    In other words, it's your fault, American public. You keep trying to live above your means on borrowed money or someone else's dime, legitimizing it through government force. It's time to grow up. Take a small recession on the chin; it's your responsibility for living like children for the past 100 years.

    January 17, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  12. Karen

    They are going to fix what they smucked up? Can't wait to get my $250 back.

    January 17, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  13. M. Winners, Mesa, AZ

    Ain't it just like Dubya. As usual the "decider" is saying, "I'll listen to what you have to say but I've already made up my mind so you can't argue with me using the facts"...

    January 17, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  14. John G, New York, NY


    Apparently you forgot that we have legislative branch of government that is designed to serve as checks and balance to the administrative branch. They aren't there to rubber stamp the will of a dictator.

    While I do have criticisms about how Congress has failed (for the past 14 years) to get beyond ideology in order to actually effectively run a country, they have no obligation to interpret "cooperation" as "subjugation" to the president.

    January 17, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  15. DP

    This man is totally confused. With less than a year left I'm afraid he's so determined to make a name for himself that he's broken free of his trainers. I'm not certain he's listening to outside advice any longer.

    January 17, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  16. pam Eugene OR

    The stock market dropped another 300+points today. I do not care if the Democrats or Republicans get the credit for this. Just don't bicker while I watch my retirement go down the drain. We need something and we need it fast. I am a democrat who will be very unhappy with my party if you hold this up for partisan gain.
    Work together and get it done now!
    Obama/Edwards 08

    January 17, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  17. Mike

    For eight years, Congress has abdicated their Constitutional power and responsibility. Now that President Bush is a "lame duck" he's got nothing to lose by presenting ideas for legislation – and Congress doesn't like that, because it shows them off as the truly lame branch of government. Somewhere along the way the public has been convinced that the Office of the President somehow controls everything in our government, and they're just plain wrong. If Harry Reid and the Congress don't want to be shown up as the 'do-nothings' that they are, then maybe they should get off their arses and do something. Afterall, that IS their job!

    January 17, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  18. william walsh columbus ohio

    if you look under stupid in the dictionary you will see this mans face, my god cant they just stop quoting him ? maby get someone that makes use of a bipartison request , to enhance a stimulus package, that is well to late!! oh i forgot, this is gw at his best making decisions that effect every aspect of the american way of life,which he thinks he has all the ansers,roflol, i would suggest the best thing to do is remove yourself and your administration that would benefit the country as a whole much more than you speaking, at least as far as party favors and such, i would assume that oscar meyer-budwieser-frito-lay and hallmark invatations for a party would see an overwhelming rise in gross sales,

    January 17, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  19. Ca Native

    Awwww... poor Democrats didn't want the President to announce he was pushing for a stimulus package?? Gee.. and the Democrats have been SO respectful haven't they?

    Constantly beating the Impeach W war-drum
    Ridiculing him from the campaign trail
    Pursuing Contempt of Congress Citations against his staff
    etc , etc , etc

    The FACT is ... this Democrat-lead Congress can't get ANYTHING done. They have a lower approval rating than President Bush. He NEEDS to use the bully pulpit to get Congress moving. Otherwise... the democrats would happily let the economy faulter during an election year... and blame the President.

    January 17, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  20. James springfield mo

    He is a incompetent lackey who has to wait for hillary to come up with something and so does obama;And so does the rest of the democratic and republican party's

    January 17, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  21. Phil Memphis, TN

    I think Clinton beat you to the punch about 10 days ago George. So much for the quick speech. What took so long for you and your administration to realize there is a recession already rolling in. I, along with half the posters on this web site saw it coming, but you and your couldn't?

    I agree w/ Pam in OR. I have wroked my tail off since I was 18, saved religiously, and am now watching any chance of retiring at a decent age slide away as George spends his trillions on his invented war. They better do something, and quick. If they think the current public sentiment is bad, just wait and see what it is like if this continues. none of the candidates will even want to be prez at that point.

    January 17, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  22. Richard, St. Paul, MN

    Why is Bush suddenly reversing his stand on so many things? Could it be that he's trying to save the trainwreck that is his presidency? Well, L'il Bush, the bridge is out, the boilers are pumping, the steam is up and you're still asleep at the switch. The sooner you are gone, sir, the better for America.

    January 17, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  23. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    FINALLY, HE IS UNITING THE NATION....................................AGAINST HIMSELF!!!

    Edwards in 2008! The leader who will fight for the middle class! Now if the corporate media would just cover his campaign!!

    January 17, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  24. ej

    Will the money be borrowed from China? Japan? Abu Dubai? We must as a nation eventually pay the bills we have incurred. Do it now. Let us not leave it for our children and grandchildren. Roll back the Bush tax cut as a beginning.

    January 17, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  25. charlotte

    Any CEO who ran a company into the ground the way this guy has run down this country wouldn't have a job 'til Jan 20th 09......

    January 17, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
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