February 5th, 2009
09:17 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama thinks stimulus will pass Senate by end of the week

Obama has told lawmakers he expects the stimulus to pass this week.

Obama has told lawmakers he expects the stimulus to pass this week.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama is privately telling senators in both parties he is confident his economic recovery plan will pass in the Senate by the end of the week, according to two senior administration officials and two congressional officials.

"We will have the votes," said a senior administration official.

In a closed-door meeting Wednesday, the president said that he was "cautiously optimistic" that he could round up at least 60 votes to cut off a possible filibuster, a Senate official added.

The fate of the package has been in some doubt as the president ran into opposition from moderate Democrats and Republicans in the Senate who are concerned about spending projects in the package.

The president stepped up his personal lobbying for the bill this week, holding a series of one-on-one meetings in the Oval Office Wednesday with key senators still on the fence. Obama met separately with Democrat Ben Nelson and Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.

The officials said that in the meetings the president suggested he would accept minor changes to his tax cuts, but was open to pulling more of the controversial spending projects in the bill.

The president also told the senators he was willing to lean on Democratic leaders in the coming days to pare down spending to reach at least 60 votes for bipartisan consensus.

The House last week passed an $819 billion version of the plan, but no Republican voted in favor of it. The president has been trying to gain Republican support before the Senate votes on its version of the bill.

Getting the bill through the Senate by the end of the week would keep the legislation on track to be signed into law by Presidents' Day, which has been Obama's target.

Filed under: President Obama • stimulus plan
soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. PA Republican for Obama

    I agree with some of the other posters here, there are a lot of left-wing pork projects that need to be slashed from this package. They simply don't belong in a "stimulus" bill. The bill should be focused completely on strengthening our economy and getting people jobs, not plugging in special projects that have nothing to do with stimulating anything while spending more taxpayer money in the process-I think we have spent quite enough as it is, and any further spending should have a very narrow focus.

    February 5, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. Larry from RI

    You right wing tools who complain about 200 million for STD prevention which would reduce the number of HIV/AIDS cases that could very well effect your families and communities don't have a word to say about the 12 BILLION a month spent in Iraq totaling over 1 TRILLION dollars or the care of our maimed and wounded kids coming home from a war based on lies – which will cost an additional 3 TRILLION over the next few years!

    The "values party" never ceases to amuse and amaze us with hypocrisy and ignorance now do they?

    February 5, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. Lars

    Obama requested a stimulus bill FREE FROM PORK on his desk on his first day in office. What did he get? More pork than Jimmy Dean.

    I'll blame Obama if he doesn't line-item most of the little pet projects. Right now, I blame House democrats.

    February 5, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  4. Al Phillips

    M you write, "$448 million constructing Homeland Security building (rennovate an old building)" as being a waste. How do you think that building is going to get built. Construction workers who need jobs are going to build that building. The materials that are required to construct the building need to be purchased. This bill does contain some pork, but stop looking at the price tag and look at how each of the programs can create a job of pump money back into the economy. That is why it is called an economic stimulus.

    February 5, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. Scott, Tucson

    And when the democrats blow this stimulus money on their pet projects and it's all gone...whats next a Depression?

    February 5, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. VON BISMARK,Vienna.

    If these Republicans had these "very effective and cheap ways" to turn the economy around why couldn't they help poor Bush? This attitude of theirs will have a back lash if they keep imposing their failed policy on Obama.
    As foolish as they are,they will after all they don't feel the pains of the ordinary American.

    February 5, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. Simpliticus

    One can tell that the moderate republicans will break rank and go with the stimulus plan. The pressure by mayors and governors is palpable and remarks by Olympia Snow and Susan Collins indicate a wavering within the senate obstructionists. THIS WILL NOT STAND! The Republican roadblock is near an end.

    February 5, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. N. S. Huntsville, Al


    February 5, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    CNN won't post that tax cuts are the same as unsupervised bailout money because they know I'm right. CNN even has a "Commentary" article in which some Libertarian dope from Harvard cites the fact that the corporate tax brings in about $350B per year in tax revenue. Funny how that number matches what we gave them in bailout money (i.e., a tax refund as opposed to a tax cut). Unless you live in a bubble, you saw what they did with the bailout money. How anyone could think they'd do anything different with unsupervised extra money from a tax cut is mind boggling.

    February 5, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. karen-Phoenix

    One man's PORK is another man's FOOD–JOB!!!!

    February 5, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    @ someonewhocares

    Giving us money to pay off our debt immediately does not help the banks. They make their money by charging you interest over time. If you pay it all off in one lump sum now, they don't make their interest profit...only, perhaps, a small profit for any earlypayment penalties.

    February 5, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  12. 1/20/13

    There is more pork in that bill then in Bonnie Fwank on a Saturday Night............

    February 5, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  13. Jackie

    The Republicans want the President to fail, so they'll vote against everything he proposes. The country will never move forward with all this bickering.

    February 5, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. Glenn Doty, Columbia, SC

    To those who are listing the republican talking points as reason to oppose the stimulus plan:

    The repbulican memo brought up a total of ~18 billion in spending out of an 800+ billion dollar package. Which means that they could find less than 2% of the package to highlight and grip about.

    Of that 18 billion:

    2 billion in construction jobs to restart an inefficient power plant
    (clear jobs creation, long term power creation via low-emissions power plant, clear stimulous even though the merit is arguable.)

    0.088 billion for designing a new coast-guard cutter. Jobs for engineers, better ship in the future.

    0.448 billion for constructing a new building. LOTS of construction jobs, very clear stimulus, get a more usable modern building out of it.

    0.600 billion for new hybrid fleet. This will last 10-15 years, and will lower gas bills over the course of that 10-15 years significantly, while reducing overstock inventories to help support the auto industry, securing tens of thousands of auto jobs... Clear stimulus, long-term yield.

    1.525 million for sewer and waste disposal infrastructure. Tens of thousands of construction jobs, which will result in cleaner cities and better infrastructure for the next half-century... Clear stimulus, clear long-term benefit.

    0.500 billion for flood reduction projects on the Mississippi. Thousands of construction jobs that might avert the next 80 billion dollar flood. Clear stimulus, VERY CLEAR benefit.

    6 billion to improve the energy efficiency of federal buildings.
    Again hundreds of thousands of jobs, resulting in long term energy use reductions. In almost all cases the money spent (resulting in jobs and immediate stimulus) will pay back the investment in under 5 years in reduced energy expenses... these energy expense will continue to be reduced for the next ~50-100 years. Anyone who opposes this is a complete idiot.

    0.650 billion for wildfire management. Again thousands of jobs, so clear stimulus... and could reduce the cost and damage of forest fires over the next year by many billions.
    But clear jobs and stimulus nonetheless.

    0.088 billion for renovating public health headquarters. Construction jobs, stimulus, better building. Clear stimulus.

    0.412 billion for CDC buildings and property.
    Again tens of thousands of jobs, but in this case the improvements to the buildings result in better safety measures for infectious desease control. Jobs, stimulus, and safety.

    0.500 billion for national health facilities.
    Thousands of construction jobs... buildings and facilities that are rebuilt... Stimulus and infrastructure. *shrug*

    0.0055 billion for "energy efficiency initiatives" at department of veterens affairs. Ok, we're getting pretty nitpicky if the best we can complain about is vague language defining ~.0006% of the bill, but energy efficiency initiatives include things like appliance upgrades, insulation improvement, etc... and usually have a payback of less than 4 years. So even this 0.0006% of the bill is defensible as it creates a few hundred jobs and will result in very quick payback and long term bill reduction.

    Add up these items of the republicans ~18 billion in supposed "waste", and you get 12.8165 billion in extremely defensible items that both offer clear, unambiguous short-term stimulus and clear long term benefit.

    That leaves less than 6 billion, out of an 825 billion dollar package, that is honestly worthy of some consideration. That's less than 0.7%!

    Please think!

    February 5, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  15. RSR

    ..."Private", Closed door meetings"...sure Obama is not using this to tell these Senators that are against his 'Pork Plan' thats its 'my way or the highway'??? I feel some old fashioned 'community organizing' is going on.

    February 5, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. I hate Rush but..

    And on the third day he rose again to tell us Bunnies are cute and the sun is warm, and the bleating sheep in unison proclaimed it was "the greatest story ever told"......

    Republicans I implore you to NOT VOTE for this and you Democrats that have some GUTS join them as this as IS, is nothing but a waste of money and is NOT a stimulus bill, it is loaded with pet projects that will DO little to NOTHING FOR US.

    Let Pelosi, Reid and Obama do what they want and when it fails we can get a new group of MODERATE DEMOCRATS and REPUBLICANS.

    One and done Barry.


    February 5, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |

    Cut out the pork...give taxpayers, homeowners and seniors the money they need...stop funding big business at our expense.

    February 5, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. Marc

    To deny that there are things in the bill that should, or better HAVE to, be taken out of it is an understatement. Problem is that there are things that EVERYBODY will call 'pork' and there other things that can spark controversy.
    For instance, M – (10:55 am ET) said that:
    '$400 million CDC to screen & prevent STD (too much – advocate harshly more responsibilty)' – The 'advocate harshly more responsability' was almost all that Dubya did to prevent STDs, with the proven fact that some of the groups that received money to teach 'abstinence' to teenagers not only perpetuated some myths about STD but also deliberately lied about them (and about sex for that matter), as a bonus of that politic.
    Prevent STD saves people's lives and health, so I don't think that 400 million are 'too much', specially considering the alternative proposed by M.

    February 5, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  19. Dennis

    House Speaker Pelosi and Senator Majority Leader Reid, following their usual partisan politics, undermined President Obama's efforts to right the economy. I am a big fan of President Obama, but if he has to depend on these two Congressional "leaders" (and I use the term loosely) he is going to have his hands full.

    February 5, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. Mike in Vancouver

    It's amazing to me that the Republicans were able to ramrod the first stimulus package through late last year with no "stringent guidelines".
    Now, because there was no previous accountability, President Obama is being handcuffed by the same party who pushed so hard just a few short months ago. I appreciate there will be some safeguards putting transparency and accountability into play on this one and future packages going forward, but the WORLD needs the American economy to start churning again. WAKE UP SENATORS!
    You have to spend to start the ball rolling, once things pick up the repayment will start. The country is already in a huge deficit position, it will need stimulus from all economic sectors. Please get going!

    February 5, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. jack

    i swear if obama's plan doesnt work and things get worst im voting socialist next election. i have had enough of the same old give money to the rich. we need government involvement in the energy industry and more public works programs for the jobless.

    February 5, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  22. John from Staten Island

    Point blank, if the US gov't were a business, it's an epic fail. Quite simply, it is as if the tax payers are the great piggy bank, the crutch, the troff, the heroin addiction of the politicians. They always know that no matter how bad there economic policies fail, they can always fall back on the good ole taxpayers, that have to pay or else!

    Its actually cripples there minds always knowing they have us or China to bail out there failed methods of government policy. It’s like the son who who works for there father, there’s never really any consequence to there failure. It cripples the mind, stifles creativity and innovation always knowing one has someone or something to fall back on.

    If they didn’t have the ability to suck us dry or simply just print more money, they would solve the problems of this economy.

    February 5, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. Deb

    Maybe we can get back the money that was poured into Iraq....By the way the have a surplus.....President Obama is trying to fix the mess that the repubs created

    February 5, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    tax cuts = tax refunds = unsupervised bailout money = tax cuts = tax refunds = unsupervised bailout money = tax cuts = tax refunds = unsupervised bailout money = tax cuts = tax refunds = unsupervised bailout money = etc

    Get the picture? The ONLY way to make sure the greedy corporate jerks who spent the original $350B in bailout funds on themselves is to tax them and give it to them as bailout money WITH STRINGS ATTACHED AND AMPLE ENFORCEMENT.

    February 5, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    Help control the banker population: have your banker spayed or neutered.

    Now there's a precondition for receiving bailout money I think we can all agree on.

    February 5, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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