February 5th, 2009
04:32 PM ET
6 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. LK

    CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN!!!!

    The only change we the people are going to have left is whats in our pockets.

    February 5, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Mike Dallas

    Who needs to worry about foreign Islamic terrorists coming to our shores to destroy America, we have republicans hell-bent on doing the same, but from the inside.

    As stated by the bald bloated bonehead himself he "wants Obama to fail".

    So it is refreshing to see Republicans that do not sit around pouting and sucking their thumb mumbling about "tax breaks".

    So kudos. regardless of your final votes, to Senators Snow and Collins for braving your party taunts about being a RINO. etc, but it is refreshing to see two reasonable Republicans, and trust me, I am as suprised as anyone that I just typed those two words, side by side, and in the same sentence.

    So thanks for ignoring Steele, the token head of the RNC and NOT believing that "bi-partisanship is overrated" and putting the Interest of the American people above those of the party!

    February 5, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. Barbara Campbell

    Now that trickle-down economics has proven to be disastrous for average Americans, let's hope that bipartisanship will produce a stimulus bill that benefits the people instead of the rich.

    February 5, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. Baze

    There are just too many dag on congressionals. These freakin' politicians can never agree on any freakin' thing. You know what I say the heck with it, don't do anything at all.

    February 5, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  5. No Incumbents 2010

    America will not stand for more Pork or more useless welfare programs in a Stimulus package. America will only accept what will stimulate the economy and that being in the immediate future. Pay backs for campaign contributions, we will not tolerate. We are also tired of fear tactics and before you libs say well George Bush did it first, you're right and NO ONE liked it when he didi it! The last time we sucuumbed to the fear tactics we swallowed the Patriot Act. America it is time to wake up before all our freedom is scared right out of us.

    February 5, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    HAHAHA @ GOP. Obama is going to rip you to shreds Monday night if you defy him. Go ahead....test him. You underestimated him once and lost the election and both houses of Congress...HARDCORE. You seriously don't understand what you're dealing with.

    February 5, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  7. Bob

    Some bipartisanship by democrats, haha. Work with us, make peace, but it doesn't really matter if you do or not because we basically want you to just fall in line like ants and support Obama because he's popular. Nevermind that many provisions of this stimulus package might not even work. If you don't agree that all of this useless spending is right, then you are returning to the "failed" policies that got us here. Sure, now if you disagree with Obama, apparently that means you don't care about the American people at all and want to see our country fall apart. Yes, there's only one way to help the economy, and we clearly made that clear in November that we voted for change. I wonder how many times I will hear that in the next 4 years. Probably every time any person has an issue with something Obama wants to do. Well, don't forget that 46 percent of this country did not vote for this so-called change that he seems to think he can bring. But hey, somehow, if this stimulus package does nothing, it will by some miracle be the Republicans fault, probably some excuse about how they took too long to act or something like that. And the blank check continues. I don't have a problem with a Democratic president, but I really don't like the blank check idea, for either party.

    February 5, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. yuri

    Yo GOPs (and Dems)!

    What's with you guys? It sounds even worse than kindergarten behavior. Do not, for Pete's sake, dilly dally too much. This has to come to fruition, willy nilly. We had enough of this herky-jerky debates and closed-door canards.

    Carly Fiorina seemed to have a reasonable suggestion. Wackos like Limbaugh might also be invited to hold informal discussions, if he promises to behave.

    February 5, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  9. Some one who care about all Americans

    I LOOK AROUND AND SEE PEOPLE KILLING THEIR WHOLE FAMILY BECAUSE OF LOOSING EVERYTHING THEY HAVE. THEY FILL THAT THERE IS NO WERE TO TURN. AND YOU WOUNDER WHY WHEN YOU SEE EVERYONE DEBATING OVER SILLY STUFF, WE ARE ALL AMERICANS AND SHOULD TRY TO ACT LIKE IT. PLEASE EVERYONE SHUT UPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP. LETS TRY TO WORK TOGETHER INSTEAD OF TRYING TO OUT DUE EACH OTHER. BECAUSE AT THE END OF THE DAY PEOPLE ARE HOMELESS, HUNGRY, AND DIEING. WAITING ON PEOPLE WHO THEY THINK HAVE THIER BEST INTEREST, BUT ALL THESE PEOPLE CAN DO IS FUSS AND FIGHT IN FRONT OF THE WORLD.
    GIVE US ALL A BREAK AN EVERYONE PLEASE JUST SHUT UPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP.

    February 5, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  10. Chris

    People have to realize that this is a HUGH issue. Yes we need the goverment to do something about it as fast as possible, but we DO NOT want to rush into something that has alot of political agenda's tied to it. The SOLE objective of this bill, is to stimulate the economy and help end this recession. The downfall of this bill that it is really only going to help special interest. Please read up on the bill and look at all of the items that are on it and really ask yourself, how will this help the economy.

    February 5, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  11. aL

    Screw that....

    That stimulus plan is full of pork.....

    Give the taxpayers a tax holiday for two months....that would stimulate the economy...I know it would stimulate mine....

    February 5, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  12. juniebug

    I have always thought "two heads are better than one." If we can have some reasonable and responsible bipartisanship, then perhaps two parties can be better than one. Congress, the time has come to work for the American people, those who elected you, remember? Your countrymen need you to step up to the plate and work with our president to find a way to repair our economy. We finally have an adult in the White House, let's see some adults in Congress! We don't need political posturing or silly one-upmanship games.

    February 5, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  13. Bipartisanship

    Harry Reid should shut his big mouth and let the bipartisan senators do their jobs. They are the only ones at least trying to reach a middle point that everyone can agree on. What a weasle Reid is for trying to use Obama as an excuse to push his own agenda.

    February 5, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. I PAY YOUR SALARY

    HEY SENATORS, DON'T FORGET WE AMERICANS WHO VOTED YOUR BIG BUTTS IN PAY YOUR SALARIES. I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR EGO, YOU ARE BEING PAID TO GET A JOB DONE, AGREE TO DISAGREE AND MOVE ON, AND TO SENATOR COLLINS WHO IS THREATENING ON SUCCESS, IT IS NOT ABOUT SUCCEEDING IT IS ABOUT DOING WHAT IS RIGHT FOR THIS COUNTRY YOU YAHOO. GO THROUGH THE PACKAGE PUT ON THE TABLE WHAT YOU ALL DON'T AGREE ON DISCUSS IT, TAKE A VOTE AND MAJORITY RULES MOVE ON. STOP DOING WHAT IS EVIDENT, JOHN MCCAIN CAME BACK TO THE HILL AND RALLIED ALL REPUBLICANS TO BEAT PRESIDENT OBAMA SINCE HE AND HIS TOKEN FEMALE RUNNING MATE COULDN'T DO.

    February 5, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  15. spokane dem

    So, Harry just couldnt leave it alone....just had to say something to make himself look powerful.....and ends up just inciting the Republicans he is trying to work with!!! We all wondered out loud why the CEOs just dont "get it" ie lavish spending while accepting bailout, well.....Harry and Nancy just dont "get it" either! Every time there is one step forward, Harry and Nancy just have to say something antagonistic! Take your cue from Obama and play nice! Jeesh! Harry and Nancy are a bigger obstacle for Obama than the Republicans!

    February 5, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  16. Sarty

    Go Go Snow and Collins. Good work. Obama will reward you sooner or later so will America.

    February 5, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  17. Eric

    Harry Reid- Open Mouth, Insert Foot.

    but I guess it carries as much weight as "no appointment by Blagojevich will be seated"

    February 5, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  18. David in West Virginia

    I AGREE WITH SENATOR GRAHAM OF SOUTH CAROLINA IN HIS STATEMENT THAT THE U.S.'S BEST DAYS ARE BEHIND HER. THANKS TO SENATOR GRAHAM AND HIS REPUBLICAN COUNTER-PARTS IN CONGRESS, THEY AREN'T INDEPENDENT THINKERS. LIKE ALL REPUBLICANS IN THE HOUSE, THE SENATE WILL VOTE NO, ALL 41 OF THEM. THEY HAVE DESTROYED THIS COUNTRY BY OUTSOURCING JOBS, CORRUPTION IN DEFENSE AND CONTRACT SPENDING OF BILLIONS IN IRAQ ALONE AND NO ONE HELD ACCOUNTABLE (JAILED) OUR SENATORS OWE IT TO AMERICA WHO ELECTED THEM TO START THINKING FOR THEMSELVES AND STOP THE POLITICS AS USUAL CRAP THEY ARE SO FAMOUS FOR.

    February 5, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  19. Hammer

    They need to ram the Pelosi/Reid stimulus plan through before more people hear about it, 60% of the citizens oppose the plan now and the number is rising by the hour. I guess that really doesn't matter, congress does not care what the people think, just get the money to pay for the votes.

    February 5, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    @ juniebug

    Indeed, two heads are better than one. Now, if the GOP would just pull its collective head out of its collective rear end, we could maybe live that dream.

    February 5, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  21. Dr Larry

    Anyone that thinks Congress should be rushing into committing a trillion or more dollars is stupid and has not been paying attention. They did that with TARP over the public's objection and they are doing it again. They need to bak off by at least 2 orders of magnitude and then only look at real stimulus packages, not this pile of rotting pork.

    February 5, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  22. Oregon calling

    Pres. Obama,
    Please tell me that on this team you will have an "Average American" or two. Someone that has never made more than $50,000 per year; someone that has been downsized by corporate America; someone that is looking for the longterm security of our country; someone that has paid their taxes; someone that is currently in school, because it is different now than it was when you or members of Congress went. If you called on me, I would be happy to be of service as I fit all of the above criteria.
    I am not saying this to be a pain but alot of us are feeling the lack of "insight" that our elected officials have. They make over 3 times what I have made in the best year that I have earned as a worker. We get downsized and they give themselves raises, but hey, some people keep elected them thinking that the same thing will have different results.
    I have been a supporter since the primaries and I will continue to support you as my President, but please ask us average americans to be on your panels and not just through your house events but an actual seat at the table.
    Thank you, CNN, for letting me get my voice out there.
    Sincerely,
    Caryle

    February 5, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  23. No Incumbents 2010

    If you actually make it a Stimulus Package they will vote.

    February 5, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  24. WDM

    I believe that the republican party has just one goal in mind, to destroy Obama no matter what the cost is to the country. All they can offer to fix the stimulus is more tax cuts. Isn't that a big part of what got us into this mess. Can't wait for 2012, so we can vote out more of the self serving republicans!

    February 5, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  25. walter

    Has anyone seen my old friend Ross Perot???

    February 5, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
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