January 8th, 2009
07:29 PM ET
12 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. Arden

    Harkin is only one of those who should have retired years ago and cannot except any kind of change. Their to old and to set in their ways. However given that I do hope that Pres. Obama hasn't forgotten that he promised that seniors on social security will not have to pay taxes on their social security. They need the extra money for their medications, food, and keeping a roof over thier head.

    January 8, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  2. Slider

    Allen – "George W. Bush not only had this much authority, but he also claimed much more than the Constitution granted him."

    This lie is sore, and it gets sorer. Look, son, if you know for a certainty that Bush exceeded his Constitutional authority then make your case in court.

    You will set yourself apart from every leftist judicial organization, such as the ACLU, and be a paragon among men. You'll also have every leftist dumb enough to draw a breath singing praises to your name.

    But, until you do so, and are successful, may I kindly invite you to keep your foolishness to yourself?

    January 8, 2009 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  3. Proud American

    There nothing here, move on Idiot republicans. I think George needs help packing. 12 more days folks

    January 8, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  4. Xavier

    Its shocking to hear what are republican mouthpieces trying to say what should be done about the economy. The last eight years have shown us just how good republicans are at running our economy. You all need to just shut your mouths and take a good look at the mess you have created. Also, dont go throwing Bush under the bus. You guys wanted him. He was your dream candidate. He was what you all felt reprented the embodiment of your party. Claim him!

    January 8, 2009 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  5. phil

    i have never seen a nation that whines like ours. dam.

    January 8, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  6. Bryce Norris

    Like itor hateit.Heres how it really is. h ow many times have we heard seen or experienceda big line for a movie the movie is dimwitted with clever special effects. It never stops the public as much as we like all us human beingsare so smart from going back and back again to waitin line.So what could all this mean in relation to Obama"s stimulus package.Do i think he"s wrong for it.This answer will surprise you Ithink he is a bit wrong but like Hollywood the public gives him no choice . i in his postion would probally do the same. We shold use the money tohelp find away to keep utilities lower and help Joe the disabled. whowrote his message above. Thathe only way Icanseeit.

    January 8, 2009 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  7. Ken

    I think the fact that everyone is upset speaks well to how this plan works.

    Republicans get the tax cuts they crave.
    Democrats get the infrastructure spending they want.

    Everyone is pissed that the other side is getting something, but ultimately, it seems like a well balanced plan that rewards work, rewards hiring, and creates direct investment jobs all at the same time.

    As to the "those that don't pay taxes," there are sales taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, and all kinds of other taxes that get paid by people who don't meet the threshold for income taxes. Those that don't pay taxes are the people who got rid of the cap gains taxes... we should reward work every bit as much as we reward investment and not create an uneven playing field through our tax structures.

    January 8, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  8. Charles from Atlanta

    This is a good thing. Balance of power, which is missing during Bush administration and led us to many disasters. Congress needs to oversight executive branch, put all opinions on the table and debate. Nothing wrong with it.

    January 8, 2009 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  9. J.P..

    Yes, tax breaks are a failure, because those stupid "average" Americans are simply not cultured and nuanced as we high-and-mighty vaunted pointed-headed liberals... WE and WE ONLY know how to spend their money.

    I've often been flummoxed at how arrogant liberals truly are: "You're too dumb to have, keep, invest and spend your own money."

    That unspoken belief (and all good "fellow traveler" liberals share that belief) is arrogant beyond comprehension.

    January 8, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  10. Obama in Maryland

    Tom Harkin is a smart and Good man, you should at least listen if he is airing concerns. I am a avid, Obama supporter, but he is not going tp do everything perfect, so when intelligent people speak up we should take a deep breath and listen.

    January 8, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  11. Trollmaster

    Obama's plan is common sense, spending our tax dollars on America and Americans. Fixing our roads, schools, bridges, health care, and schools. We should be doing this already. Only in America there's too many morons that argue that this isn't basic common sense.

    January 8, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  12. Stevo

    >"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?

    What you describe is the complete antithesis of the free market.

    I'm tired of people trying to blame the failings of the most economically interventionist US regime in 60 years on the free market, which is what is usually meant by "capitalist" as opposed to "socialist"

    The free market would place the fraudsters on the curb, and the fraudsters would likely be going to jail rather than getting golden parachutes courtesy of taxpayers. That is, if they weren't lynched in the streets by angry mobs before making it to the prison.

    January 8, 2009 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  13. tim

    Obama has never had a real job, never started a company, never
    made a payroll and always lived off the Govenment and donations.
    He can't give any advice about what hard workers do or don't do
    or how to create wealth. Don't give my hard earned money to a bunch
    of loafers Obama.

    January 8, 2009 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  14. Stevo

    > Be thankful for what you have. Just like us Americans. No wonder
    > the rest of the world thank we are a bunch of fools.

    Well said. The media is trying to scare the bejeesus out of Americans so that we'll support getting worked over by glorified thugs to redistribute our wealth to other people "for our own good".

    Be thankful for what you have indeed. Envy is poison, and it will lead to the self-destruction of this great nation if we don't stop this madness.

    Got a roof over your head, food to eat, and ready transportation?

    Congratulations – you're better off than billions of other people.

    Stop whining and claiming the sky is falling so that we must enact radical socialist policies that may indeed result in the twilight of the USA.

    January 8, 2009 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  15. David In MN

    Its funny...people are saying Obama is too "left-wing socialist liberal" yet the reason liberals and democrats are mad at Obama is because of some of his conservative leanings in his policy...before you critisize...at least know what you are critisizing...

    January 8, 2009 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  16. Former Republican




    January 8, 2009 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  17. Brenda C

    Can't we just all get along? LMAO

    January 8, 2009 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  18. to funny

    ha! alvino says 401k's are now worth 60% of what they use to be. That there is a smart left wing. Could have changed your 401k around mid last year when you seen the marketing falling. I did. And Im sooo not complaining. To bad your down. Barry can now give you your money back....thats whats its all about right? Just to have society to give you everything. Pays to play smart in this world and not sit on your lazy bum.

    January 9, 2009 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  19. caitlin

    Why the senators are so dumb? This is not set in tone. They will modify it.

    January 9, 2009 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  20. Mikey

    I say we vote for a third party next time around!

    January 9, 2009 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  21. A Latte Lover, Seattle, WA

    No offense, but what is CNN's definition of a barrage? Does one Senator Harkin equal a barrage of criticism? Sometimes I think you guys write your articles to encourage a barrage of criticism from the posters on this website....Be it against Obama, Palin, or whomever the article might be about...

    January 9, 2009 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
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