January 27th, 2009
01:15 PM ET
9 years ago

President Obama working phones for stimulus

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/27/art.obamahill.gi.jpg caption="Obama is pressing members of Congress to vote for the stimulus bill"]WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama is taking a hands-on approach in shaping the $825 billion economic stimulus package under consideration by Congress, urging his fellow Democrats to take out provisions he feels are unnecessary and controversial, according to a senior administration official.

An Obama aide said the President has personally called House Democratic leaders recently to urge them to remove a $200 million family planning provision which would have made it easier for states to use federal funds to provide contraception for poor families.

One of those calls was to Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of California, chairman of the House Energy Committee and one of the most influential liberal members in the House. The Obama aide said the President urged Waxman and other Democrats to take out the provision because it was a hot-button issue among Republicans, and did not focus on the mandate of creating jobs as quickly as possible.

In trying to win over Republicans, President Obama is also bringing a Republican ally along for his trip on the Hill. By his side will be his Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the former congressman from Illinois, who is one of two Republicans in his Cabinet. The moderate LaHood is a veteran of Capitol Hill, and a longtime friend of Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, with whom he co-hosted bipartisan dinners as a member of Congress.

Filed under: President Obama • stimulus plan
soundoff (181 Responses)
  1. Chris

    Mike the basic idea – 825 billion was Obama's plan – but the President can't write legislation. The committees in the House (esp) and the Senate get to write out the line by line details of what goes where. Those committee members are the ones who add on pork style spending (be they democrat or republican – ted stevens anyone?) They do it for their own constituents and sometimes they do it to enlist votes for the project. So if they build a huge school in GA then GA's Congressmen support it cause they don't want to look bad back home. Sometimes they'll throw in extra tax cuts to enlist Republican support (even though direct spending is far more efficient at stimulus) so in that sense, tax credits could be pork.

    In any case, yes it is Obama's Plan, but he didn't put the pork in it. In fact, everything I've read has him trying to get the pork out.

    January 27, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. Dexter in Houston TX

    Some say he is moving to fast, others say he is not moving fast enough. I have come to the conclusion that we will always be a divided nation as long as we do not trust the people we elect. We didn't get in this mess overnight, so please people, do not expect mircales in 8 days of office!
    I applaud President Obama's efforts to expedite what is important in an intelligent manner.

    To Ray-Ray: why don't you check your white hood at the door, there is no room for you at this table!
    DX in TX

    January 27, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Kathy

    At this time any stimulus plan that only costs the taxpayers money is wrong. We are all struggling now. The gov. got us into this mess, Rep. and Dems. both. Let us keep more of the money we work for and back off, the people will make it work, not handouts to welfare recipients and big corrupt businesses. We are in a lot of trouble for the next four years. Hang on!!!

    January 27, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. obama-mama

    All you cretons that keep bringing up Rezko, Ayers, Wright? Go find Sarah Palin and stay in Alaska. Bunch of ignorant cave dwellers.

    January 27, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. gg

    after all this time, the republicans have not learned a THING!!
    republicans are opposing this stimulus bill FLAT OUT! without coming
    up with an idea or a plan!!!
    o well it's just as well... what can i expct from them ...

    January 27, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. Bill Mosby

    So far, I'm very impressed with Obama's energy level, focus, and prioritization. I wish him, and us, speedy progress.

    January 27, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. John

    Amazing, the people who had complete ccontrol of this country for the last eight years, you know the ones who allowed all of this to happen suddenly are concerned about excess spending. Who do they think they are fooling? I hope they continue to refuse to help in any way maby the American people will finish the job of eliminating the Republicans and thier bad joke conservatism for the next forty years just as sRoosevelt did.

    January 27, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. Obama 2.0

    This is the deal. I am an Independent and care less about party politics. There are good and bad ideas on all fronts. But at the end of the day, they/congress need to quit playing the American people and get some solutions moving. We can see what has happend to America for the last thirty+ years and we know that the last 8 was a test to the free market theroy minus regs. That and draining the tax pool that this country would need for a rainy day. Well guess what it is pouring and we are soaked so Republicans, Democrats, Dogs & Cats Need to roll up the sleeves lock the door and DO NOT come out untill you have working solutions. If you continue to play us it will back fire. There is way to much info on the net to find you out on. So if you like your job then do it, or you too will be joining the millions trying to figure out how they are going to feed their children.

    January 27, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. Anna, Missouri

    It is time for the Republicans to actually do what is right for the American people. In case they didn't get the memo-the Democrats won. That is because the majority of the people feel that the Democrats and our new President have good ideas and we want them inacted. If you are one that didn't vote for the Democrats, then I recommend that you actually contact your Republican leaders and tell them to stop being obstructionists and start putting forth actual ideas and plans to save this economy. If you actually spent some time working to make things better, then just oppose everything, then we might actually see an improvement in this country in many ways. On the other hand, you can continue what you are currently doing, and the Democrats will win even more seats in the House and Senate in 2010.

    January 27, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. Ray Fisher

    The President's "I Won" remark has been exploited by the far right losers as gloating yet was intended as "His Mandate Won". For some reason the naysayers can't accept not only their defeat but the reasons for their defeat. They ruined our nation financially, militarily, morally and spiritually yet still insist upon having their way based upon "principles"??? I haven't witnessed a party, agenda nor administraion lacking more principles than the recently departed. Uncontrolled borrow and spend fiscal policy is not a principle it's called stealing!!!

    January 27, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. David S.

    Leave it to the dems to pork barrel the economic stimulus package to pay off all those groups who helped them win in the election. There are so many items in there thathave nothing to do with job creation. Kudos to Obama for getting ride of the $200million Pelosi wanted for condoms.

    Now he needs to get rid of the millions wanted for "neighborhood empowerment" groups, aka ACORN and the rest looking for freebies as payback for the election.

    Cant this stupid congress get anything right?

    January 27, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. rick reid

    I would like to meet some of you so I could kick you butts. What a bunch of idiots. President Obama has been in office exactly one week about 22 minutes ago and people seem to thinks he's failing already. I particularily take issue with the one that said Obam's managed to make George Bush look smart. No one could that, especially in that short of time and regardless of what you think, I believe has more brains in his right pinky toe than George Bush would ever have.

    GIVE THE BUY A BREAK!!! It isn't the Democrats or him that have put us in this mess. It is the right wing ultra conservative know it all people who have practically ruined this county!!! I just hope that it isn't already to late and the damage way to much.

    January 27, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  13. Steve in CT

    To "Teacher"

    You're right on when you say the republicans don't know what they're doing. They proved it by taking their eye off Sen. Chris Dodd (D) Connecticut who was supposed to be watching the greed mongers who blew our economy.

    January 27, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. jacq

    If Rethugs are not careful they will be out of office soon,he has the votes he wants to bring them on board and work with them.

    January 27, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. Jose

    TO: 'barack obama is still just B.O.'

    You are a complete moron. We finally have a President whose willing to roll up his sleeves and work both sides of the aisle.

    You are delusional. I wonder what it feels like to be that ignorant....

    January 27, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. Scott Tucson

    So who is going to pay for all these free give away goodies to the banks and corporations? You and me, talk about the fleecing of America.

    January 27, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  17. Red State

    Hey Blue State. Typical that you just point out the republican hate posts (and I agree they exist) but don't even mention the hate coming from posts from the left. Just look at any story that mentions Bush or Palin and you'll see they get the most hate comments. You're also probably one of those that think the main stream media is neutral. Wake up from your Obama honeymoon. Your boy has work to do now. So go ahead and start lowering expectations (like you guys did with Palins debate performance against Biden) and blame everything on Bush for the next four years. That excuse will get old soon.

    January 27, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  18. Highly Favored

    President Obama, in all your ways acknowledge HIM and he SHALL direct your path!

    January 27, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. Observant

    I personally think that the family planning allocation should be left in the plan. Providing contraception to poor families will help to reduce the cost of social welfare benefits. Less poor children, more saving in the food stamp, medicare and housing programs. I also believe that there should be some give and take on both sides, however Obama, please don't let the Republicans take us back to Bush policies. They didn't work that why you got elected.

    January 27, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  20. AWARE

    Obama is really trying to get people on track. They need to stop being difficult and over analyzing and let the work that has to be done get done. When you work for the people of the US it's about being in order, on time, and not damaging the economy more than you have to. They all need to work together and put all their petty issues aside. High school is over.

    January 27, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. Nila Williamson

    You can take the bail-out money to hell with you.

    January 27, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. Jon in CA

    WHAT?? You mean SOME folks in Washington DC (Republicans) are starting to pull the reins back on the outrageous spending bills?


    Don't those Republicans know they're just supposed to do whatever Obama, Pelosi, and Reid tell them?? Who do they think they are... representatives of the people???

    (eyes rolling)

    You democrats are going to put this country six-feet under with a mosque built on top of our grave.

    January 27, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  23. Nila Williamson

    You can take the bailout money to HELL with you.

    January 27, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  24. Andrew

    Hmm.... What is this... Obama is trying to compromise to actually try and get something done in Washington. I think this is what he campaigned on when he preached bipartisanship. Which in Washington DC means playing babysitter to the bleeding heart liberals and the always negative conservatives in the legislature. Interesting... If it could only work. By the way... just so everyone knows... the $825 Billion proposed still isn't going to be enough for us to recover.

    January 27, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  25. Matt, Minneapolis, MN

    He should stop wasting his political capital on something he doesn't even know what's in it. He should stop wasting his political capital by starting a meeting by saying "I won", and by inciting people on the far right who listen to Limbaugh. The role of the president is not to respond to every critcizm like you're on the campaign trail. You answer press questions, when you enter the press room. You talk to the american people before you talk to the people who want to bomb America. You may have won the election, and you may be a skilled politician, but your sheer lack of experience is showing.

    January 27, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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