February 5th, 2009
04:32 PM ET
5 years ago

Senators end second stimulus meeting sounding less optimistic

Collins is among a bipartisan group of senators seeking to rework the stimulus bill.
Collins is among a bipartisan group of senators seeking to rework the stimulus bill.

(CNN) – The bipartisan meeting of senators looking to reach a deal on the stimulus bill ended their second meeting Thursday afternoon sounding significantly less optimistic than they had earlier in the day.

Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Republican Susan Collins of Maine, and others said it was proving tough to reach the right balance on spending - cutting some programs while adding funds for infrastructure projects.

Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman said they're trying to find the "sweet spot" on that mix.

Still, two Democratic senators said they have found general agreement to cut some $100 billion from the bill, a number they have reached as they have added cuts throughout the day.

When the meeting broke up, Republicans were going to talk amongst themselves, and Democrat Ben Nelson went to update his leadership. Nelson says he's also in touch with the White House.

Meanwhile, Democratic leader Harry Reid issued a public warning to the senators in that room not to overreach.

"They cannot hold the president of the United States hostage," he said. "If they want to work constructively, we will work with them. The president has instructed me to work with them if it's going to help the legislation. But if they think they are going to rewrite this bill and Barack Obama's going to walk away from what he has been trying to do for the American people, they've got another thought coming."

When asked about those comments, Collins became visibly annoyed.

"I would say to the majority leader his success depends upon the success of this group," the Maine Republican said.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. mike in vancouver

    The hypocrisy stemming from the different attitude the Republican Senators have for the Obama Stimulus v the Bush Stimulus is revolting! Your economic plans have failed the US for the past many years and now you are holding the new administration hostage. How many more jobs have to be lost before you decide to "give in" to the current demands? How many more homes go into foreclosure while you are stalling playing politics? You will not be currying any favor with the President while you are toying with either an $800 billion or $900 billion addition to the deficit. In relation to the existing deficit, what is the percentage of an additional $100 billion? Only when the economy starts flowing again will any dent be made on recovery. GET WITH IT!

    February 5, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  2. Judy

    Cut the stimulus package "across the board" to the amount that the Senators are willing to vote for. All the Programs are then kept intact on a smaller scale. And we can then move on to other things.

    February 5, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  3. Native Texan

    Typical Republicans, getting in there and messing things up (BIG TIME).

    February 5, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  4. Pete

    Maybe, just maybe if all of our egotistical Congressional elected officials had to get their hands dirty by doing an honest 40 hours of work a week they would then understand what the real average American is going through. But why would they, probably because they are commited to satisfying all of their money laden election rump swabs. The Washington DC of the 2000's is starting to look like Al Capone's Chicago of the Proabition days. WAKE UP PEOPLE, Banks and the automotive Industry are getting bailout money to help US, not to support the lazy automotive unions and to pay 6 plus figure bonuses to financial officials. My wife maintains our family checkbook, so does that qualify her for a 6 or 7 figure bonus from the government??

    February 5, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  5. new york hostage

    how can people look at this bill and not see it for what it is?? it's a giant pig...without any lipstick( stealing b.o's line) . what a total farce. the government can't even secure our borders and people think they are going to "fix" the economy?? please... we are better off if they do nothing, at least my kids won't have a extra 1 trillion dollars of debt to pay off. i say hands off, let bad business and personal desisions happen like they are supposed to. we can't save every one from their own mistakes. it's time for people to save themselves.

    February 5, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  6. Raul Dominguez

    I know the bill has to be compromised, but the debate really shows how out of touch many congressmen and women are with regards to the economy. There are typical brick and mortar infrastructure plans in the bill that is fine, but many legislators are not counting energy, green technology, and weatherization projects as infrastructure. This is the perfect example of people who are not up with the times!!!! We need job creation that moves with the future. Americans need to work in the jobs of the 21st Century. I'm sure in 1933, many congressmen couldn't believe a dam in the desert would creat long term jobs and would still be working in 2009, but Hoover Dam is!!!! We need vision in Congress now!!!!!

    February 5, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  7. shannon

    thank goodness, we need people to stop this big welfare package!

    February 5, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  8. nick

    It is clear now that Republican Senators are indeed anti-black. No Pres. with a 68 million voters behind him, has ever had so much negitive comments coming from the opposition party. As, for the Senator from South Carolina, referring to the stimulis package, "as from a different planet" I agree that South Carolina is a "different" planet. Perhaps it is time for South Carolina to return to the United States of America.

    February 5, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  9. California Girl

    I don't like all of it but it seems to me we can't just do nothing and I haven't heard anything coherent from the republicans. Isn't this crisis a little bit bigger than party politics? I am not impressed with anyone at this point.

    February 5, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  10. Meg in FL

    OKAY, OKAY, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT WE ARE SO JUDGMENTAL AND DIVIDED! TODAY I WATCHED CSPAN AND IT MADE ME SICK TO MY STOMACH. I’VE READ BLOGS THAT ARE CRITICIZING, MEAN AND HATEFUL….I INCLUDE MYSELF IN THIS BUNCH.

    CAN’T ANYONE SEE WHAT WE’VE BECOME?? WE’RE JUST AS BAD AS THE ISRAELIS AND PALESTINIANS; AS BAD AD THE CATHOLICS AND THE PROTESTANTS IN IRELAND. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS THAT WE DON’T USE BOMBS, WE USE WORDS. NOW THOSE WORDS ARE HURTING INNOCENT PEOPLE WHO NEED HELP. CAN’T WE STOP THIS BICKERING ON WHO’S RIGHT AND WHO’S WRONG????

    WE WILL NEVER SEE EYE TO EYE ON ANYTHING BECAUSE WE DON’T THINK ALIKE. WE’RE NOT GOING TO CHANGE EACH OTHER’S MINDS OR FEELING ABOUT ANYTHING.

    REPUBLICANS: QUIT TRYING TO JUSTIFY YOUR WRONGS AND THINK THAT YOUR PARTY KNOWS IT ALL!!

    DEMOCRATS: QUIT TRYING TO REASON WITH THE REPUBLICANS AND REALIZE THAT WE HAVE TO DO IT OURSELVES!!

    WALK AWAY, AND LET’S DO WHAT WE, THE PEOPLE, CAN DO! VOTE FOR WHO WE WANT TO REPRESENT OUR POINTS OF VIEW! WE DID IT IN THE LAST ELECTION AND WE WON. NEXT ELECTION, DO IT AGAIN! THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BIPARTISANSHIP IN WASHINGTON. IT’S ALL POLITICS AS USUAL. PRESIDENT OBAMA ISN’T GOING TO CHANGE THE WAY IT IS BECAUSE IT’S TOO EMBEDDED IN THEIR MINDS. HE’S GOING TO HAVE TO DO WHAT HE CAN WITH THE POWER HE HAS WITHOUT ANY REPUG’S HELP.

    STOP!!!!!!!!! IF YOU CAN’T SAY ANYTHING POSITIVE, DON’T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL!

    February 5, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  11. Don in Albuquerque

    Yes and I get less optimistic about the chances of reelection for those who obstruct this bill while thousands are out of work. Are you boys listening, or are you just stupid?

    February 5, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  12. dittohead with forty names

    Here comes the greater depression,batten down the hatchs folks,the republicans did it again.

    February 5, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  13. SH

    The stimulus bill is full of pork that needs to be trimmed. We can substitute giving America something it desparately needs, like universal health coverage. CQ Researcher (6/12/2002) estimates the cost of providing health coverage to everyone in the U.S. as $11-$86 billion. We're "the only developed country that does not provide universal access to basic health care". It is a better use of taxpayers $$ than bee research, a water park, and a host of other items on the pork list.

    And if they want to restore confidence in the economy then Congress is going to have to develop laws and regulations to hold company officers accountable for their actions. Hundreds of these people should go to jail or the unemployment line without benefit of their bonuses. It seems appropriate that if there is no profit, there is no bonus.

    February 5, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  14. novi

    buckle up everyone, it's going to be a bumpy ride!

    February 5, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  15. annie - Palin 2012

    How about a 20% pay decrease for the politicians in DC and put a 10 yr. freeze on that. That would save all American taxpayers money! They always seem to forget we pay their salay and they work for us, not the other way around.

    February 5, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  16. Irishny

    ...and another thing,there are democrats against this bill too,so stop rying to lay the blame at the republicans door.
    Jeesh,even when the democrats control the house,the senate and the presidency,you still cant wait to blame the republicans!!

    February 5, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
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