February 7th, 2009
02:28 PM ET
6 years ago

Senators debate hard-fought stimulus compromise

GOP Sens. Arlen Specter and Susan Collins leave a meeting Friday night in Sen. Harry Reid's office.
GOP Sens. Arlen Specter and Susan Collins leave a meeting Friday night in Sen. Harry Reid's office.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – U.S. senators spent part of Saturday debating the massive economic recovery package, after a group of lawmakers reached a compromise agreement that trimmed billions in spending from an earlier version.

The senators were to recess at 3 p.m., and return Monday afternoon for more discussion. A vote could come Tuesday on the plan, which President Barack Obama has touted as a tonic for the nation's badly battered economy.

The compromise agreement was reached Friday after days of private meetings between centrist Democrats and Republicans who felt the $900 billion price tag on the Senate's earlier version was too high.

"There is a winner tonight," said Sen. Joe Lieberman, an Independent from Connecticut and one of the moderates whose support was crucial in efforts to corral enough votes for the plan. "It's the American people and they deserve
it."

Senate Democratic leaders are so confident the package will hold that Democratic staffers in the House and Senate are not waiting for the final Senate vote to hash out differences between their two bills, according to a Senate Democratic leadership source, who said behind-the-scenes negotiations were under way Saturday.

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Filed under: Stimulus
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. A dog barks in berkley round

    Woooo.its a whos as dumb as they are ugly contest.

    February 7, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  2. miker

    only republician pay their taxes, Dems are cheats

    February 7, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. Rachel in Nebraska

    A big thank you to Susan Collins and Arlan Spector and other Republicans who are doing what is best for their country instead of continuing to push old outdated Republican ideas. Your constituents are lucky to have you. What is wrong with your party? Why don't they learn from history and stop living in denial about the mistakes the Republicans have made in the past. To be pushing more tax cuts and denying the advise of the best economists in this country is not only wrong, it is stupid......

    February 7, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. BB

    It's about time they worked a little bit. Just taking the very lucrative benefits of the office and doing nothing cost the republicans in 2008. I get the feeling that it will cost the republicans in 2010.

    We're not stupid – we know who has valid argument(s) and who is just obstructing for the hell of it.

    February 7, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  5. Sanford

    I just read what got cut. Congratulations Senators; you just created an economic stimulus bill that has absolutely no hope of stimulating the economy.

    Anything in the bill that would raise this country up, got cut, in favor of items that kept the country on the status quo. God forbid any of you actually take a chance on anything!

    February 7, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. i love pork

    They know full well any foot dragging will end their time in office.

    February 7, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. Where the CHANGE is

    If this matter is so hot and pressing and inaction could result in national economic collapse, then why is the senate taking time off?? THIS IS THEIR ONLY JOB...TO REPRESENT US! As President Obama said, 'the time for action is now...'. Im sure he isnt getting any rest on this, neither should the 'gang of 18'. GET TO WORK!

    America, remember this when it comes time for elections. I can only pray that this country is not so brainwashed that over the course of two years, WE will all see through these antics and sequentially vote this 'gang' out of office. You want CHANGE...make it happen during the next election and get these abusers out of office.

    And, when they are voted out, charge them with criminal acts...because this is criminal! Crazy Joe even said it...'Dems have a 30% chance of getting this wrong'. I vote in my elected officals KNOWING they will be 'zero defect'. SEVENTY PERCENT CHANCE OF DEFECT IS UNACCEPTABLE!!! HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR INACTION OR THEIR 70% DEFECT RATE!

    February 7, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. james

    Cutting funding for head start programs, school construction, health and human services, but NOT cutting tax breaks for billionaires is NOT what we voted for!!! 2010 is coming, and all of the repugnant ones are going to be paying the price for continuing to stand by the Bush doctrine of helping the wealthy at the expense of the majority. Are you listening McConnell et al.? You think you can continue to dictate your agenda with your slim fillibuster capabilities? Vote the rest of the crooks OUT in 2010!!!

    February 7, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  9. Simmy

    Democrats need to MAN-UP and WOMAN-UP and tell the Republicans **** ** ***! President Obama tried diplomacy; it didn't work. Force them to filibuster. When the American people get through tar and feathering their behinds, they'll fall in line!

    Please, no more begging. They are not children!

    February 7, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. Judy from PA

    This is just too fast. Can someone please tell me something that the Congress did quickly that was actually a good idea??

    February 7, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  11. Dawn

    Sen. Arlen Spector is my Senator, he made a comment about running a rail line from Philly to Reading, PA. Well guess what, we did have a rail line from Reading to Philly way back in the 70's until it was shut down. Now since we are having Music, hockey and other things in the Reading Eagle- Soverign Center. it could seem like pork, but actually it is not. If you have every traveled the Schukill Expressway you would actually understand. We in Pennsylvania needs our roads fixed, and where I used to live, near Daniel Boone Homestead is a bridge that has never been repaired correctly since the Angus Flood back in the early 70's, and I hate to get stuck on that bridge during rush hour, directly into the Schukill River.

    February 7, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  12. Where the CHANGE is

    New name for the plan...Compromising Repbulican's Action Plan. YOU put the acronym together, see it for what it is and THAT is what you get.

    February 7, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  13. Vicki

    I am very concerned that this bill still have language that will disqualify colleges and universities that have religious clubs and other organizations on campus. Does the President realize that will disqualify the U of Chicago? This question was before the Supreme Court in 1980 and was unanimously overturned. Why did the Dems put this back in?

    February 7, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  14. Fan of Common Sense

    If we were to take this same money and use it to instead pay off some of the national debt, our economy would probably be better off in the long-term. But we're Americans. We don't care about the long-term.
    (BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT.....WE NEED IT!)

    February 7, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  15. Sarge

    When are the Republicans just going to roll over and say good nite Gracie?????? Get those sorry people out of office fast before every home buys is without a house and no JOB....One thing is funny though. All these companies are using the economy as a reason to let employees go. That is hog wash. If they are not a union company they don't have to bring back those folk in 6 months from now if or when things start to get better. They will hire people at a lower salary..Trust me on this because I worked for AT&T and was a manager when they offered me a buyout..I took it and then they rehired another person for the same position but at a much lower salary....Or if these companies are complaining that they aren't moving their products. Then lower the prices so people will but them and then they will have to produce more items to sell and that means no more layoffs....It doesn't take a genius to figure out their tactics...Only a Republican that gets behind them.....Oh I forgot to mention Tell Senator Vitter "REPUKBLICAN" Stimulus doesn't mean a part of a woman's body that he is used to paying for.

    February 7, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  16. Rosa, b'ham al

    Every time the democrats go on TV for the next four year they should remind the public that the REpublicans made them cut all funding for building schools in the US yet they support sending billions of dollars to Iraq for re construction. They clearly think reconstruction in IRaq is more important than construction and jobs here.Every one should be reminded of that on a daily basis.

    February 7, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. Bill

    Thank you Senator Spector and Senator Collions for showing us that the country means more than the same old Republican Party line which is No, No, and No.

    February 7, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  18. cmoore

    All who votes for this will have a tough time being re-elected

    February 7, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. lt

    I don't care if you are republican or democrat...if you fill an economic stimulus bill intended to create jobs with funding that does anything other than create jobs, you shouldn't be surprised when someone stands up and objects. Come on folks...this isn't about funding all the pet projects you can come up with just because you think you can tag them on...even if they are good things or socially valuable. America needs this package, but not if it is filled with extras...save that for the normal budget when everybody throws all the pork in that they think they can get away with. This bill is about the economic viability of our nation and should be treated that way. That's why the bipartisan vote in the House was "against". That's why there are also democrats questioning sections of this bill.

    February 7, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  20. joethedumber

    2 trillion to banks=good
    750 billion to the people of the U.S=bad
    GG retardicans.

    February 7, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  21. pat

    James, I agree with you about not cutting funding for Head Start, education and the environment. In Obama's campaign didn't he say he would fund Education and the environment? So very disappointing. I've sent e-mails to the White House and my Senator but I don't expect them to change anything.

    As one teacher said: Be careful what you wish for

    February 7, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  22. Charlie

    This isn't about being a Democrat or a Republican. Read the article. "centrist Democrats and Republicans who felt the $900 billion price tag on the Senate's earlier version was too high. No kidding!!!!!

    Just keep this bill to job creation, not everyones wish list we can't afford!!!!!

    February 7, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. Sam

    Simmy......... Think about your country first! This pork bill will set back our economy per the CBO and not help one bit.

    If we recall, the Democrats took over Congress in 2006 and things started the down hill run. No energy plan as promised then gas prices hit the ceiling last July (right in time for the elections. The Fannie/Freddie mess hit right in Sept, again for the elections. Has to have a crisis to get elected....right!? Those tax cuts the Left wing rants about helping the rich also help the retirements of many "average" Americans, it's called your 401 Plan. Those tax cuts help business hire employee, something higher taxes don't do. So borrowing trillions and spending it on important things like STD will create jobs?

    james........ Obama is bringing the crooks into his administration or have you been asleep? The new Treasury Sec. helped create the wasted spending of the first bailout. You want to give him another shoot at it?

    Democrates equal tax and spend.....proof positive!

    February 7, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. The Facts...People Paid to Peep at N.S.F.

    Lieberman needs to have his head checked if this bill is a "winner" as he said. Wait until you read what was disclosed this week in the senate!

    I watched all this weeks coverage of the senate discussion on this bill, including Saturdays discussions....which ran until 3:30 pm CNN; not 3pm as reported in this article.

    Here were some of the highlights the average citizen might appreciate knowing: several million is going to go to repairing statues in federal cemetaries (do the dead really need a stimulus, I ask you)....

    ...millions are going for a program called "job training" (am i losing it, I thought you had to have the creation of a job before you need to train someone for it)....

    and 600 million is going to go for new ports....wait a minute that had to be a misquote...nope, you heard me right....new ports (we got plenty...we have a slow economy...we claim we can't adequately patrol the ports we already have...but some fool thinks ships need a new place to dock, obviously, and somehow they say this will help the economy immediately is why they put this in our emergency stimulus bill." Go figure!

    But you haven't heard the best yet...PAID TO PEEP....it turns out that the National Science Foundation might be the next big porno bust site. Oh, and yeah, they are on the list to get gov funds from this stimulus bill too...millions!

    One of their $100,000 a year employees was busted for watching porn on his office computer 20hrs of his work week...he had been doing it for 2yrs...that sure explains the lack of work performance on the job, eh....and since there is supposedly a culture of porno watching going on there, well, jobs aren't getting done and management (the director) thinks an influx of cash might just be the ticket.

    What do you guys think? Cemetary statues, Porno Watching, and new Ports....is this stimulus we can live with? Dang, I wish I could be a senator...I Vote NO....vote them all out of office...lets put real people in the jobs...write your congressmen and tell them you ain't going to vote them back in office if they vote for this junk at our expense.

    We need REAL CHANGE....not more of the same (just because it is the Dems sticking it to us now instead of the Republicans).

    February 7, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  25. Jan

    I don't care whether they are Democrats or Republicans.....I still don't see anything in that bill that is going to help us NOW! A tax cut for working families? Can't use it til next year....oh and one question....how come there is so much for couples and families? What about the single people who pay more in taxes than couples? Where is the help for them? The politicians would be better off sending all taxpayers a fairly decent check to help out NOW! That would give them time to sit and argue with each other.

    February 7, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
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