House to Vote on Obama's Economic Stimulus Plan

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama's expansive and expensive plan to jump-start the economy is all but certain to clear its first hurdle when the Democratic-controlled House votes on a $825 billion version that melds new spending and tax cuts.

Republican support, however, is in doubt when voting takes place Wednesday.

With Democrats enjoying a comfortable majority and expected to fall in line behind Obama, they don't need help from GOP lawmakers to win House passage of his top priority of economic recovery. But Obama wants Republican support to illustrate his promise of a new style of politics that rejects partisan gridlock.

Despite his desire for partisan backing, the House was moving the bill toward a passage vote that was expected to be largely along party lines.

House Minority Leader John Boehner wouldn't say Wednesday morning how he thought the vote would turn out. He did emphasize anew that GOP members are worried about billions in domestic spending that "has nothing to do with creating jobs or preserving jobs."

"We're for more than just cutting taxes," Boehner, R-Ohio, said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told CNN that "where we have differences with the House Democrats is that the package just doesn't seem to reflect our priorities, nor the president's."

McConnell said the proportion of tax cuts versus spending increases in the version being pushed by Democrats has been "crammed down" to about 20 percent of the total instead of the 40 percent envisioned by both Republicans and Obama.

Senate committees were working on a separate version of the measure that enjoyed only slightly more support from Republicans. Congressional leaders have promised Obama they would send him the measure, which could be the single largest bill ever to go through Congress, by mid-February.

In the hours ahead of the House vote, Obama was to make his case for swift passage after meeting at the White House with a group of business CEOs to discuss the plan - just as debate on the measure is in full swing up Pennsylvania Avenue.

The president's first days in office have been dominated by his efforts to drum up bipartisan support for the sweeping plan to help pull the country out of the year-old recession that he inherited from former President George W. Bush. The increasingly troublesome economy - and the federal government's response to it - is the first major test of Obama's presidency; how he handles the volatile situation, and the effect of his stimulus package on the economy, could well set the tone for his first year in office, if not his entire term.

He is casting the measure as the first step toward turning around the moribund economy while laying the foundation for long-term objectives, like developing alternative energy sources and rebuilding the country's highways.

The House measure includes about $550 billion in spending and roughly $275 billion in tax cuts in hopes of spurring the economy and helping those directly affected. Much of the spending would be for items such as health care, jobless benefits, food stamps and other programs that benefit victims of the downturn.

As debate on the measure began Tuesday, most Democrats trumpeted it as the elixir for what ails their jobless constituents and pressed for passage; Republicans generally griped about "insane" programs that would be funded in the plan and "minuscule" tax relief for small businesses as they urged opposition.

The legislation "isn't an economic stimulus bill but a rampant spending spree," said Rep. Harold Roger, R-Ky.

Democrats made one small change, voting to delete $20 million intended for renovating the National Mall. Republicans had criticized the expenditure as wasteful.

Across Capitol Hill on Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 21-9 to support a $366 billion spending portion of the plan.

Senate Democrats also accepted attaching to the bill a one-year extension of the Alternative Minimum Tax fix aimed at saving primarily higher-income taxpayers about $70 billion. That would increase the Senate bill's total to about $900 billion.

In both the House and Senate, Obama has reached out to Republicans who want less spending and more tax cuts in the legislation, and he has promised to consider their concerns - and alternative proposals - as it winds its way through Congress.

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  • by Anonymous on Jan 29, 2009 at 05:17 AM
    passed the bill what more damager can it cause Bush left the economy messed up anyway!!And besides so many people are losing there jobs, so I know this little cash can come in handy for them!!
  • by SHAYANNA Location: TALLAHASSEE on Jan 29, 2009 at 03:59 AM
  • by Live Oak Resident on Jan 28, 2009 at 10:04 PM
    THIS IS NOT A JOKE. I read a report this weekend that the president plans to earmark $2 billon for Bigfoot/Sasquatch tracking and research (I'm not sure if it's buried in this bill). I truly believe that bigfoot could possibly exist in North America but do we really need to spend $2 billion on this subject especially during an economic recession? And where is the media outrage? If you don't believe me, do a google search- you should find some information.
  • by tally Location: citizen on Jan 28, 2009 at 09:05 PM
    WILLIAM-you really should run for political office. You can do it!
  • by Anonymous on Jan 28, 2009 at 08:17 PM
    Medicaid is the last place this money should go. The welfare system is severely abused and needs a complete overhaul ! We have women spitting out baby after baby after baby. Their boyfriends live with them ( which is not reported to the case workers) and sells drugs for more income, the grandmother raises the babies and the mother parties on the tax payers dollars. What is wrong with this picture?
  • by Anonymous Location: Georgia on Jan 28, 2009 at 07:41 PM
    The Stimulus Bill passed in the House. Please pray that it does not make it through the Senate. All this "stimulus" does is make paybacks to those who got Obama in office. Millions of dollars for ACORN? I mean, what else could that be? Obama's got to keep these buddies of his happy so they'll help keep him in power when the next election comes up. It's all about power and greed and an agenda that will make us a socialist nation. We are headed on the fast track to get there, too. The people who came up with this "stimulus" don't even know if ANY jobs will be created. They've admitted this on camera. It's all about paybacks in disguise.
  • by Chief on Jan 28, 2009 at 06:24 PM
    Our Governmemt is corrupt Democrat and Replublican thats why people are hiding their money. Obamas' corrupt campaign with the kick backs and cabinet jobs to the banks are just making confidence sink to zero.
  • by William Location: San Diego on Jan 28, 2009 at 06:12 PM
    As a matter of Principle,all of Republicians are purveyor pervasive perdition mindset individual,they are by far the most hypocritical controlling people known to mankind.While Republicians have a Dislike for Other Unlike themselves,they see life as a one way street,not being Contrite in its Belief,The Americians people should not EVER,EVER put Another Republician in Any Office,that include the Office of HeadMaster Latrine Cleaner.
  • by me Location: not here on Jan 28, 2009 at 05:50 PM
    Hey MOTHER-it's wombs across the world. Obama just opened up federal funding for abortion practices throughout the world. At least the chinese were straight forward when they initiated population control. They could only have 1 baby and then you were fined after that and did not receive benefits for a second child. Now, how would that work in today's society at the rate people and especially minorities are having kids. It wouldn't work, that's why they want to make it easy for someone to easily rid themselves of their baby at their expense. I am pro-choice and Obama is overstepping moral boundaries when he tries to dictate that Catholic Hospitals provide abortions. Create clinics that provide abortions(more jobs)put one of those little rope lines up to keep the sheep in line and leave the catholic hospitals alone. You want to talk about job losses, let the hospitals leave and it will make the eventual closing of the auto industry look like the closure of a roadside peanut stand.
  • by Steve Location: Tallahassee on Jan 28, 2009 at 05:20 PM
    RAW - I AGREE!! LadyPlease - well, your comments are racist and you suck!! Letmypeoplego - you suck too, as well as OZ. Now, Nana, Read HR 6257. Pelosi is going to outlaw .50 cal primitive weapons as being dangerous, so we will have to fight with pop guns if the next civil war happens. as far as Obama goes, I have resigned myself to 4 years of chaos and lies. The next election, I am going to do like Obama's people did at colleges, except in reverse. I am telling my kids if they vote for him again, they are out of my will.
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