January 8th, 2009
07:29 PM ET
9 years ago

Dems give Obama aides 'barrage of criticism' on stimulus plan

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin is concerned about some aspects of President-elect Obama's economic stimulus plan.

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin is concerned about some aspects of President-elect Obama's economic stimulus plan.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Top Obama aides Larry Summers and David Axelrod heard a barrage of criticism late Thursday about the stimulus plan at a closed-door meeting for all Democratic senators, according to several participants who spoke afterwards.

Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa said he was “concerned about the way Mr. Summers and others are going on this.” In particular, he dismissed the tax breaks for individuals as a return to “trickle down” economics that won’t work.

Harkin said the Obama aides were “non-committal” about whether they would change their plan.

However, according to Sen. Kent Conrad, Summers said the senators’ message was “received loud and clear.”

Asked what he thought about the “pushback” from fellow Democrats, Axelrod said, “I’m not going to characterize it as pushback. I’m going to characterize it as people doing their jobs.”

Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois said he thought the new administration is open to modifying their package. “I don’t sense they have it set in stone,” he said.

“That’s the stage we’re in now. Talking about options. What will work, what won’t work. There’s not violent reaction against it,” Durbin said.

Filed under: stimulus plan
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. gl, Pittsburgh

    This is a wake up call. All the old headS in Washington all act the same wheter they are Democrate or Republicans very evil to the poor. They didn't have any problem giving our taxes dollars away to the fat cats of Wall Street that didn't need it. I was never for the Bailout for them becasue I knew it was the trick of the devil. NO BAILOUT FOR THE POOR AS USUALLY. From here on I hope all the CEO GET THEIR PAID BACK FOR THE MAN UP STAIR (GOD) ! Don't mess with God's love one which is the poor!

    January 8, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  2. Allen

    Sara for America wrote:
    "The public has never granted so much authority to someone with so little experience in the history of the world."
    Huh! Where have you been? Every newly elected president had this much authority, and not one of them had any experience at the job. Very few of them faced the difficulties that Obama faces, and very few of would put their place in history on the line in order to straighten out the mess that George W. Bush and ten years of a Republican-led congress left us.

    George W. Bush not only had this much authority, but he also claimed much more than the Constitution granted him. Too bad he wasn't a leader, to make good use of his stolen authority.

    January 8, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  3. SMR

    Trickle down economics is when Gov. gives tax breaks to the rich (big oil )ext..Am I right? Tax breaks for the hard working Americans that are suffering are the people that make this economy thrive.This tax break would give us extra money to help now when we really need it, at the same time, this money would go right back into the system to help the economy , RIGHT? maybe just more disappoinment because of oversight and strict accountability. Can't get their hands on our tax payer dollars!!!

    January 8, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  4. citizenmateo

    To Scott L(oser) & Sara the DUMB American,

    You guy and your thoughts are DEADER than reagan.
    Get a grip. Give the guy a chance.

    You guys don't have a clue.

    Obama is far from left wing. Look at the RECORD and what he has said
    publicly. Do your homework before you talk out of your browneye


    January 8, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  5. John

    The Democrats need to fall in line and support their President!

    January 8, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  6. Obama supporter

    Some of you are having difficulty understanding what democracy and bipartisanship is. It is about dialogue, conflicts on contents and a compromise. This key role of Congress hasn't been a part of American gov't for so long it seems strange hyped also with the media's desire for controversy through their use of hyperbole. (barrage).

    January 8, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  7. Partisan quagmire

    I understand oversight and I understand we can't just give Obama a blank check. But I think he understands it too. People on the hill are going to have their objections but we can't let it stop the ball from rolling. Obama is right. We need a strong economic stimulus package and fast.

    January 8, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  8. sandee in Portland

    @Scott,,,"Free handouts to those that don't even pay taxes..." I didn't read anywhere that PE Obama wants to give free handouts to anyone; he does, however, want to cut taxes for those of us that are working.


    January 8, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  9. Chris in Va.

    Once sworn in President Obama needs to go in and shine his shoes on some Congressional butts and put these do nothing idiots in their place. Still waiting on YOUR plan Harkin.

    January 8, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  10. conservativemaverick

    Harkin needs to wake up.

    January 8, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  11. Diane

    I expected for arguments and concerns raised about any economic stimulus plan. The more, the better so that hopefully at the end, the president will be able to learn, and acquire all the information he needs to make the best decision for this country. I don't want the next 4 years to be like the Bush administration, where the citizens knew nothing about anything, and then suddenly 2 million jobs lost, stock market crashed, and now college students like myself are left with little means to pay for tuition.

    January 8, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  12. Perusing-through


    People like John Kerry and Tom Harkins who are complaining about the $3,000 tax credit for businesses are really not that oppose to it. The tax credit is designed to keep businesses from shipping American jobs overseas. Obama & Biden promised this on their campaign and the Democrats never complained at that time. What the Democrats "really oppose" is Obama & Biden's strict adherence to NO EARMARKS in the stimulus package which leaving the Democrats furious.

    Both the Left and Right (especially the Democrats) were looking for a train load of pork but are shock that Obama & Biden are sticking to their NO PORK stimulus package. So the Democrats are using the tax credit (something the Republicans like) as an excuse to lampoon the Obama-Biden economic stimulus package.

    January 8, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  13. down & out

    bring our food prices down, milk is still 5 dollars a gallon in most places, i'm afraid 500 dollar tax cuts won't help this major problem, you can't put money back in the economy when you don't have any, i've been without health insurance for 3 years,and some people have never even had any, we've wasted trillons of dollars on a useless war and yet the republicans and some dems. begruge us even the 500 dollars, well, i say just give mine to them, maybe they can get a few extra cups of what ever it is they drink.

    January 8, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  14. 3strikes

    nobama is probably goin to fail and the repubs are goin to put you bottom feeding nobamacrats in your place. you praise and worship that clown, he got americas hope all riled up on "change" and he aint goin to be able to deliver it, so, HA!!!

    January 8, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  15. conservativemaverick

    citizenmateo, don't be so naive. Reagan's influence on American politics is alive and well. He consistently ranks as one of the best Presidents in history. "Trickle down" economics is apparently alive and well if Democrats are opposing that part of Obama's plan. Maybe you're the one who needs to do some research.

    January 8, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  16. (Former) Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    I'm afraid to say this but what the only thing that will defeat Obama is the cynical Dems and Republicans that refuse to acknowledge that this nation requires a new direction!

    January 8, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  17. Freeboot

    Instead of debating all this junk we should be asking how he and Congress are going to lead us out of this mess. I tell you a welfare state and spend, spend is not the answer. We should be demanding that he provide adult leadership and shout down special interest groups, the ACLU, NAACP, black and white racist group and do what is right even if it costs him the next election. If some of you are so short sighted and think that we can get through this without some pain – shame on you. Oh, I get it let the other person hurt, not me. Or maybe it is “time to get even because I have been wronged and repressed” – bull – you don't know what repressed is – go live in Russia or some other welfare state – you will find out. Be thankful for what you have. Just like us Americans. No wonder the rest of the world thank we are a bunch of fools. Oh, by the way I believe now that he is not so liberal after all. So goes campaign promises.

    January 8, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  18. legal in nc

    BWAAAAAHHHHAAAAAAA! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

    Can't wait for the inauguration if it is this much fun already watching this machine implode!!!

    The horrible part of all this is that all of America suffers for it, not just the kool-aid drinkers that voted for it.

    January 8, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  19. carol

    PE Obama's plan sounded perfectly alright to me, of course it's not going to appeal to everyone on both sides of the isle....but he has to do what is right for the country as he and his economic advisers see fit.
    Nobody said this task would be easy, but it has to be done so those who oppose it will have to get on with it and go with the flow.

    January 8, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  20. Bill Charlotte

    Well we got rid of the Republicans for not being able to resolve anything, we can get rid of these "do nothings."

    January 8, 2009 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  21. TCM

    I think the dems should all get together for a big hug...and Obama could lead them in a song....wake up! The honeymoon's over!

    January 8, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  22. Apples for sale

    I knew that McCain would not be any change and I didnt expect Obama to be any real change either,I now I see him as the Globalist he truely is.One world government here they go.Ron Paul was right.I would have voted for Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul,but the owners of the media made sure they never had a chance.

    January 8, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  23. Patriot

    "Free handouts to those that don't even pay taxes." That's not socialism, that's pure capitalism. Did you already forget about the bank bailout?

    January 8, 2009 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    It seems to me that Obama is having more problems out of member of his own party in congress that he is with Repthiglicans.

    Fienstein, Kerry, Conyears and now Harkin...............who is the next Democrat on the list to come out with a big foot in his or her mouth?

    The IDIOTS!!!!

    January 8, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  25. alvino

    Scott L-

    Since you are right wing supporter of the most socialist president ever ( George W. Bush), this may be difficult for you to comprehend: our 401k plans are worth 60% of what they were a year ago. You really screwed us by electing the most inept individual as president since Hoover.

    January 8, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
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