Senate Passes A Stimulus Bill; Now the Hard Part


President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan has passed the Senate and is on its way to difficult House-Senate negotiations. Just three Republicans helped pass the plan on a 61-37 vote and they're already signaling they'll play hardball to preserve more than $108 billion in spending cuts made last week in Senate dealmaking. Obama wants to restore cuts in funds for school construction jobs and help for cash-starved states.

(Emphasis supplied.) I like that the story says Obama wants to restore the state aid and school construction money. He should also press for removal of the AMT fix from the stimulus bill and other unstimulative tax cuts. By doing so, he can actually significantly reduce the cost of the bill while increasing its stimulative power.

Speaking for me only

< S.C. Arrests 8 In Phelps Bong Investigation | When Is Lying To Congress A Crime? >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    The Senate conferees (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 12:50:26 PM EST
    Innoue, Baucus, Reid (NV), Cochran, and Grassley. I suggests that Residents of Hawaii, Montana, and Nevada start calling their Senators, though I doubt it will help much.

    OT: TL is melting down because something from widgetserver.com refuses to load.

    I sincerely hope you are wrong. (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:31:42 PM EST
    Hoping cooler heads keep us from becoming embroiled endlessly, and at great expense in $$ and lives, in Afghanistan. Hoping someone with a conscience persuades Obama to close Guantanamo as soon as possible and publicly state his administration will not engage in extraordinary rendition, torture, etc. Hoping against hope we don't have to listen to McCaskill, Snow, Specter (well--we'd have to listen to him if George W. Bush was still in power or McCain) and Nelson (D-Neb.) for the next four years.

    What is the civil way to tell (none / 0) (#5)
    by ruffian on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:14:51 PM EST
    them to cave to the House bill as soon as possible? And tell Grassley to collect some phone books to read aloud if he doesn't like it?

    Did you see Grassley trying to explain (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:18:16 PM EST
    his indecipherable (at least on C-Span) chart this morning?  

    I heard Grassley over the weekend, (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Anne on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:32:58 PM EST
    going off on a tangent when debating some of the cuts that needed to be made to the Senate bill; he was explaining how the SCHIP bill is just another attempt by the e-vil liberals to nationalize health care, and drive those wonderful private insurance companies out of business.

    I'm sure the people who saw me screaming at my car radio thought I was certifiable.

    I am not encouraged by the cast of conferee characters.


    The expanded SCHIP could hardly be called (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by ding7777 on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:43:02 PM EST
    "nationalization" since the whole expansion is being financed by tobacco users only

    To a Republican, (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Anne on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 02:27:06 PM EST
    anything the government does that makes health care more accessible for poor people is one more step on the road to nationalization.

    Hey, he has a pretty red vest. (none / 0) (#27)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:36:00 PM EST
    ha - no (none / 0) (#13)
    by ruffian on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:21:12 PM EST
    Was it the one with the dollars piled from here to the sun? I saw that one on The Daily show.

    I think the point of the second chart (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:26:19 PM EST
    was to show how tax cuts help and spending doesn't.  But, the lines looked the same color on C-Span and he didn't seem to understand his script.

    How are the Senate conferees selected? (none / 0) (#30)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:46:16 PM EST
    The Majority and Minority leaders (none / 0) (#32)
    by andgarden on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:48:06 PM EST
    make picks. I don't know how they come up with party ratios, though.

    I don't have much faith in Inouye's (none / 0) (#33)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:51:49 PM EST
    powers of persuasion after hrg. him on C-Span this a.m.

    good - I like the House bill better (none / 0) (#44)
    by ruffian on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 02:30:26 PM EST
    I hope the Senate team fails miserably.

    Isn't his purpose to craft a compromise (none / 0) (#45)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 02:35:04 PM EST
    which will be acceptable by the necessary no. of members of the House and Senate?

    I think the House bill would get 51 votes (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by ruffian on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 02:41:03 PM EST
    in the Senate if they made the Republicans really filibuster and eventually have to fold to public pressure.

    I probably won't get what I want.


    By the party leaders (none / 0) (#53)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 03:00:36 PM EST
    But generally certain people always get on the conference committees - the chairs and rankings of the committees of jurisdiction, possibily of the subcommittees of jurisdiction as well depending on the bills.  And leaders themselves may be part of the negotiations depending on how important the bill is.

    If more spending gets put back in (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by magster on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:02:08 PM EST
    Gregg needs to vote with the administration to help get to the 60 mark.  If the stimulus package does not pass because we are Gregg's vote short of getting to 60, Obama deserves all the condemnation in the world for that appointment and subsequent approval of Gregg abstaining.

    (Hillary would not have let a cabinet appointee skip a vote on the life-death of the American economy)

    I'm pretty sure (none / 0) (#18)
    by NYShooter on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:28:49 PM EST
    Gregg is on record to abstain from voting on this bill.



    He is. Obama must make him unabstain. (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by magster on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:33:26 PM EST
    The Commerce Sec'y should not be on the sidelines of a bill designed to create 4 million jobs, especially with such a razor thin margin.

    Yeah, it was (none / 0) (#73)
    by NYShooter on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 06:27:08 PM EST
    a "pre-condition," as I understood it for Gregg to agree coming aboard.

    In my opinion, Rahm should show The President where his middle finger is located, and how to use it.


    Agreed. Except (none / 0) (#79)
    by Cream City on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 08:16:57 PM EST
    that we know Obama already knows how to use it.

    That nervous tic, as it was explained, does appear to be under control now -- I didn't see it in his appearances this week, and under a lot of pressure.


    Keeping it in makes the bill seem (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by ruffian on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:19:18 PM EST
    to cost more than it actually does. Gives the cutters more of a talking point, and Boehner another fake 'Oh my god' moment.

    Maybe you live someplace where (none / 0) (#46)
    by ruffian on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 02:36:35 PM EST
    this bill is more popular. The GOP did their job here in Rush-land. All I keep hearing from normal people is how expensive it is.

    I'd be happy to put in more spending - but the premise of the comment I was responding to was that there would be no more spending, so what was the big deal about taking out the AMT  fix? If there is going to be no more spending, then I say take away all the tax cuts and have a lower cost bill that is easier to sell.


    ecause, as Sen. Shumer sd. this a.m., (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:20:02 PM EST
    Grassley insisted on the AMT "patch" and then voted against the bill, which would carry a lower price tag w/o the "patch."

    I guess (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:34:51 PM EST
    Schumer also said this:

    "And let me say this to all of the chattering class that so much focuses on those little, tiny, yes, porky amendments: the American people really don't care."


    I liked that. Tell it like it is. (none / 0) (#28)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:36:50 PM EST
    I acutally thought it was obnoxious (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 03:15:00 PM EST
    The American people DO care.

    I don't agree (5.00 / 4) (#60)
    by Steve M on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 04:23:39 PM EST
    if the American people cared about earmark trivia, John McCain would be President.

    The only people who are obsessing over the minutiae are those who have the luxury of doing so.  Fewer and fewer people have that luxury nowadays.


    I think they do care (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 05:11:29 PM EST
    When they are trying to hold on to their jobs and /or houses, and they hear about $50 million for the NEA and millions for computerizing medical records.  Important stuff, but I don't think it translates well to Joe and Jane American when they are worried about putting food on the table.

    Schumer looks elitist by patting us on the head and saying "don't worry your pretty little heads about the details."


    NEA funding was axed. (none / 0) (#74)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 06:30:25 PM EST
    I think I should launch a pro-earmark party (none / 0) (#62)
    by andgarden on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 04:27:02 PM EST
    I could dine out on David Broder's attention.

    Obviously some people like Russ Feingold don't like earmarks because they give the appearance of corruption, but for Republicans, "earmark" has become an almost-synonym for "welfare."


    i just don't see (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by cpinva on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:35:58 PM EST
    pres. obama killing himself over this. he hasn't so far, why start now?

    the adverse affects of AMT, on the "wrong" people, are wildly exaggerated.

    The AMT is not a tax cut, It is a fix for a regressive inflation caused tax on people it was not designed to affect.

    the people it was designed to affect are, by and large, those affected by it: those who's regular taxes are reduced/eliminated, by virtue of the use of tax "preference" items to compute their regular tax liability.

    such "preference" items are: MACRS vs. SL depreciation; Percentage Depletion vs. Cost Depletion, etc.

    your average "joe sixpack" isn't going to be affected by this at all, because he and his family don't have a clue what those things are, much less have them on their tax return.

    i'd say the odds of a whole lot of people having huge long-term gains (taxed at a lower rate than either personal service income, or short-term gains) on their returns this year is pretty low too.

    the bottom line: "fixing" the AMT will little or no stimulus effect on the economy right now.

    The government spending (none / 0) (#37)
    by Slado on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 02:08:33 PM EST
    will have no effect either so I guess that's makes it bad bill all around.

    The elephant in the room (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by NYShooter on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 02:20:44 PM EST
    My brother, an MIT/Harvard/Berkeley PHD (in theoretical nuclear physics) thought he was going to spend his life doing pure research at some university (ala A. Einstein.) When cupid struck during his last year of doctorate study, he turned his finely honed brain into mush, and his new vivacious blond wife cooed to him, "sweetheart, you'll have lots, and lots of time to lurch around in your silly laboratories later; GO MAKE US SOME MONEY FIRST!"

    Fast forward: He is a partner in a Chinese (Hong Kong & Mainland) VC Company as their high tech research director, and advisor to some closed, private hedge funds.

    So, several months ago, when these economic storm clouds were gathering, I asked him, "Wassup, Mikey....huh?" He said, "it's beautiful, the world's coming to an end." Basically he said that no one, and I mean no one, has a clue what the unfettered Merlins of Wall Street have wrought. He uses a super computer in his work, but he says there simply is no model to begin to figure what the total exposure is; we are truly in" no man's land." He likened it to the first experimental atomic bomb explosion, when many very smart scientist were worried that the chain reaction set off by the atomic fission wouldn't be able to be contained, and the world would go "boom!"

    That's where we are now. It seems only Krugman is aware of the danger.

    Doesn't it make you feel swell knowing Claire Mccaskill is on the case?

    When I read things like this, my (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by Anne on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 02:40:29 PM EST
    my stomach does that lurch-and-clench thing that makes me feel like my lunch is coming back up.

    My daughter's husband has been cut to 4 days from 5; my other daughter's boyfriend just got laid off, although it may be fairly short-term.  If we have to all live under one roof, we will, but it's crazy that we have started to even think like that.

    I even caught myself looking at my pantry and wondering how long we could eat from just what is on hand.  And my husband and I both have good jobs.



    The problem is (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by wickedlittledoll on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 05:24:21 PM EST
    that even with the concessions Obama and the Dems have already made, the Republicans are only intent on obstructing and stonewalling, not on getting the legislation passed, despite what they tell the public. They don't care about stimulating the economy or getting Americans back to work. They care about continuing the political divisions that have stagnated Washington for so long.

    Confused? (none / 0) (#3)
    by WillieB on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:10:01 PM EST
    I'm confused. I was under the impression that coming out of House-Senate negotiations the bill needs a simple majority (51 votes to pass). Did I mix something up?

    I'm confused too (none / 0) (#6)
    by ruffian on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:15:58 PM EST
    Will there be another Senate cloture vote?

    Filibuster (none / 0) (#7)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:16:24 PM EST
    It is still subject to the filibuster which requires 60 votes to break.  However, a conference report cannot be amended  There's this bill or back to the drawing board.

    Thanks CD (none / 0) (#9)
    by ruffian on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:17:53 PM EST
    I thought there was another debate period before the final vote, but couldn't remember for sure.

    see ruffian (none / 0) (#59)
    by BTD Adopted Son on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 04:15:45 PM EST
     this was my question to you further down the thread.

    This is what i mean by there will be no good bill.

    So instead of fighting for the good progressive bill-- lets settle for the one we got.

    Unless there is some way to get 2-3 magical fairy votes. Obama had to deal with snowe or collins.

    It's either a perfect bill with no chance of passing or a ok bill that will.



    ColumbiaDuck (none / 0) (#61)
    by BTD Adopted Son on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 04:26:59 PM EST
    You didn't reply to my other post yet.

    But now i have a new question for you now.  I will try to make this one more coherent.

    DO you  think Obama's 3 weeks in office have been a failure?

    If you think the stim pkg was a failure  - then can you explain to me where we get the 59- 60th progressive vote-- for our good progressive bill.

    Are you judging obama based off of his campaign or his presidency?

    because i take it you don't want more rhetoric but action?

    So you should only judge pres obama on his actions which are:

    1. executive order to close gitmo

    2. sign Lilly ledbetter act
    3executive order lifting ban on fuel efficency 4standards. Clean air act

    5 remove gag rule on abortions.

    6.limit executive pay.

    7.freedom of information act

    8.Signs S- chip

    9.sign executive order that makes it easier for qualified labor union personnel to get gov't contract.

    10.Halting DEA raids on medical mj sites

    11.Terror: Negotiating with Russia to reduce nuclear arms

    12.obama drops bush's administration challenge to mercury emission case.

    13.Obama signs appliance efficiency standards memo

    And there are tons more....

    now which of these things aren't " progressive" ?

    which of these thing do you disagree with?


    This is the wrong thread (none / 0) (#64)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 04:34:05 PM EST
    So this post should probably be deleted.

    Actually Columbia Duck (none / 0) (#68)
    by BTD Adopted Son on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 05:35:31 PM EST
    This is relevant to this thread.

    In your other thread you said Obama wasn't fighting for progressive policies enough and you stated because of his  handling of the stim pkg.

    But in this thread you just admitted that we need 60 votes-- either this or back to the drawing board you said.

    So how are you blaming Obama for his handling of stim bill when we need republican votes.

    That's equivalent to you blaming me for not being able to write a front article -- despite-- the fact i would need approval from jeralyn or BTD.

    How do you blame someone for something they don't have control over?

    thanks you for reply to posts so far.


    It's off-topic (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 05:44:28 PM EST
    And a continuation of a discussion on another thread so it should not be posted here.

    And you can get 60 votes without totally capitulating to 3 Republicans.  


    thanks Columbia Duck (none / 0) (#72)
    by BTD Adopted Son on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 06:14:33 PM EST
    I think this is where we are having our problems.

    Just because ColumbiaDuck thinks it should be in the otherthread-- doesn't make it so.

    Just because you think obama is not fighting for progressive values does not make it so.

    PLS i am asking pls refute my reasons for why i think this is relevant to this thread.

    I laid out my case for why i am right.

    You have not proved otherwise.

    WHere do we get the 3 magic fairy votes to pass a perfect stim pkg the way we want it? WHen you just said upthread( proof of thread relevance) that it's either " this bill or back to the drawing board"

    ANd you are right Obama did not " totally capitulate" to the republicans.

    Did we get some of our funding for some of our programs?

    Now pls explain to me why the bill would be put back to the drawing board ?  Now remember these were your words in this thread--- proof of thread relevance

    Because as you make it sound we don't need a single republican vote. So then there would be no need to go back to the drawing board right?

    You still after about 2 hrs have not answered my question

    How to we passed the perfect bill you want-- with out the 59th and 60th republican votes?

    Remember you made a comment about this upthread( thread proof relevence again)


    You are not making any sense (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 06:53:42 PM EST
    I already said Obama failed to fight on this issue and did not act in a progressive manner.  He COULD have gotten 60 votes without capitulating but he prenegotiated and didn't take that route.  Now we are stuck with a Senate bill that is nowhere near where it should have been given the severity of the ecnomic crisis, the mandate from the last election and the Democratic numbers in the Senate.  We probably can't do any better AT THIS POINT because Obama needlessly empowered three people by not acting aggressively on this legislation.  That doesn't mean that was a foregone conclusiosn.  That a not-great bill is better than nothing is not a ringing endorsement for his politics or policy.

    Here is a way we COULD have passed the bill.  Obama could  have used the time between the election and Inauguration to actually craft a piece of legislation and present it to Congress.  He COULD have then given a prime-time speech laying out exactly what our natio is facing and exactly why this bill was needed.  He COULD have then embarked on an aggressive trip to sell this plan and put pressure on moderate Republicans before they had a chance to recover from their devestating electoral losses (perhaps stops in PA and ME?).  He COULD have not pre-negotiated against himself and stood firm in the face of ridiculous Republican sniping over contraceptives.  He COULD have used the bully pulpit.  He COULD have made it very clear from the outset that those opposed to this effort would be dooming the American economy.  

    Instead he dithered away a couple of weeks trying to achieve a "bipartisan" victory that was never going to happen, let the Republicans control the spin wars, and empowered a party that should be still stuck on it's back like a turtle.  And now it is probably too late.  

    Just because you need 60 votes doesn't mean the only way to get them is to give away the store.


    Columbia Duck Are a astute debater? (none / 0) (#76)
    by BTD Adopted Son on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 07:37:30 PM EST
    If you are not then that explains why my arguments don't make sense to you.

    Usually debates go like this.

    person a.-- makes statement of fact

    persona a-- supply fact based argument to back up intial claim.

    person b.--- make statement of fact

    person b-- goes through each one of person b's arguments.

    person b -- then return with their own facts based points.

    So based on my calculations you did things out of order.

    This is very simple.  

    Let my try this in mathematical terms

    5 + y= 7

    Now solve for Y

    7= Obama not being a progressive

    5= you making that argument

    y= your facts!!


    BTD Adopted Son (none / 0) (#77)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 07:56:53 PM EST
    You are a new commenter here. New commenters are limited to no more than 10 comments in a day. You have 38 for today and yesterday. Please return another day and limit your comments to 10 for the first 30 days. Thank you.

    Yes ma'am-- i will respect your wishes. (none / 0) (#78)
    by BTD Adopted Son on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 08:16:06 PM EST
    Thank you Jeralyn for allowing me to go past my 4 comments per day.  I have been reading your blog since june 08 and everyday since then.  But i am now getting in touch write my blog writing side.

    I intend to add greatly to the political discourse on this site.  I wilL TRY to be a respectful and substative as I can.  Thank you for providing such a great place for people like me to soak my blog oates.--lol

    You, TChris And MR BTD have my upmost respect.

    Have a great night i will see you tomorrow.

    P.s  When does my review period end?


    ooopps--sorry (none / 0) (#80)
    by BTD Adopted Son on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 08:17:28 PM EST
    you answered my question already. thanks

    What's the plan if this doesn't work? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Slado on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:25:50 PM EST
    Are we sure that this plan will work?

    Will there be another stimulus in 2010 right before the elections?

    Just want to know how much money to take out of the stock market and how much gold I need to purchase.

    Biden: 30% chance it won't work. (none / 0) (#16)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:27:36 PM EST
    But, maybe he was talking about something else entirely.  See Obama press conference.  "I honestly don't know."

    Probably not another stimulus, but don't (none / 0) (#17)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:28:30 PM EST
    count out another disaster of some outrageous proportion.

    As I posted in another thread (none / 0) (#36)
    by Slado on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 02:06:53 PM EST
    Peter Schiff is expecting just that.

    Very scary.  


    Gold is up so high right now that I would (none / 0) (#38)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 02:10:23 PM EST
    think it will plummet in the not too distant future.

    Can we have (none / 0) (#20)
    by CST on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:31:53 PM EST
    Franken yet???

    Honestly, I don't see Specter voting against this bill.  Not if he wants to stay in the senate.  So with him and Al Franken...

    Booo Coleman!

    I wish I had a senator to call up and berate, but mine had to be flown in from the hospital just to make it to the vote.

    Per AP, more ballots allowed in (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:33:53 PM EST

    This is why the 50-state strategy (none / 0) (#70)
    by Cream City on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 06:07:35 PM EST
    and Dean were right.  Obama could have won by a bit narrower margin, and more $$$ and energy could have gone to a couple more Congressional races. . . .

    So, I have a question (none / 0) (#24)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:33:58 PM EST
    Obama wants to restore cuts in funds for school construction jobs and help for cash-starved states

    How do we make sure that the states themselves don't blow this money on more earmarks?  WaPo had an article the other day detailing how there isn't enough money for oversight now, and the people who do oversight for government contracting are going to be blown away by the amount of work they have to do.

    I mean, let's face it - the people running the states are politicians who like pork just as much as the piggies in DC....

    The states (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by CST on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:46:18 PM EST
    Can't afford to "blow money" although I am not sure what you mean by earmarks.  If you mean important projects that are on hold due to lack of funds, well I sure hope they "blow it" on those projects.

    But we've had this argument a bunch, one person's "pork" is another person's "critically important project that provides jobs"


    I have a feeling that a lot of the... (none / 0) (#35)
    by EL seattle on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:58:03 PM EST
    ... shovel-ready projects that some of the states have right now are projects that the state taxpayers have been unwilling to pay for through other means. Some of these projects will definitely get some people to work and help the economy.  Other projects will be very ineffective in that regard.  

    I'm sure that all of these projects are deserving of the available funds, but who at the state level will make sure that this particular money from Uncle S. will go to where it will bring the most benefit to the economy as a whole?


    Well (none / 0) (#54)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 03:04:38 PM EST
    While that sounds good and logical, it's  not that easy.  The National Governors' Association, while desperately wanting this money, warned Obama back in December that less than half the $136 billion in projects they said were ready to go could actually get underway within the next 6 months. And choosing which projects to work on would be political minefields.

    "This is not going to be a situation where we're going to be putting money into something the contractors can't handle," said Bill Buechner, chief economist at the American Road and Transportation Builders Association. "There's plenty of capacity, and there's a lot of workers."

    The devil, however, is in the details. What emerged yesterday in Philadelphia, and in ongoing discussions in Washington and in state capitals, is the concern that injecting such huge sums into public works projects could prove more complicated than anyone yet imagines.

    Answering the simplest questions -- which projects are ready to go? -- can be surprisingly difficult.

    The governors yesterday offered school, road, transit, wastewater and airport projects that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said could be ready soon, "literally, putting shovels into the dirt within a few months after the administration starts."

    But David Quam, director of federal relations for the National Governors Association, said many of the projects would take 24 months. Less than half of them -- projects worth about $57 billion -- would be ready to go within 120 days, Quam said, the time frame set in a stimulus bill that passed the House in September. An Obama aide said money dedicated to infrastructure should be spent within 24 months, not devoted to projects just getting underway at the end of 2010.

    And the WaPo has this great graph that shows a breakdown of both bills, and notes that only 1/3 the $62.3 billion allocated for highway construction will be completed by the end of fiscal 2010 (which is October 1, 2010).


    final passage (none / 0) (#39)
    by jedimom on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 02:13:56 PM EST
    ohhh noooes i thought we only needed a simple
    majority in the senate when it comes back frm committee

    I was hoping we didnt need collins and specter and could just put education back..

    Dave Obey (none / 0) (#40)
    by andgarden on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 02:16:26 PM EST
    predicts that negotiations will "take a whole lot longer than just this week."

    The House is going to actually fight for its bill.

    Good. (none / 0) (#41)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 02:18:34 PM EST
    Oculus Can you pls (none / 0) (#47)
    by BTD Adopted Son on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 02:37:24 PM EST
    explain to me how that's " good"?

    How do you get 60 votes if the 59th and 60th say no?

    So would you rather us fight for a good bill with no chance of passing while the economy tanks or do we take the compromise bill stop the economic downturn and work on a way to evict all republicans from the senate for ever?

    i know which one i would prefer?

    Pls Pls give a progressive reality based answer not a progressive fantansy one-- pls


    Well (5.00 / 3) (#51)
    by Steve M on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 02:43:53 PM EST
    if you accept that the positions of Collins, Specter, et al. are written in stone and that they have already made the maximum amount of concessions that they would ever be willing to make, then yeah, I guess you're stuck with giving them an effective veto over everything we do for the next two years.  But in my world, if you come back with a conference report somewhere between the House and Senate bills and present it to them in "take it or leave it" fashion, it is far from guaranteed that they will join a filibuster against it.

    The other factor in this, of course, (none / 0) (#52)
    by dk on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 02:50:11 PM EST
    is what Obama wants.  I think it probable that he is closer to Collins/Nelson on this than he is to the progressive caucus.

    but jk (none / 0) (#57)
    by BTD Adopted Son on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 03:23:25 PM EST
    how do you know that?

    WHy would you say he wants to be closer to a centrist policy oppose to a progressive one?

    Are you judging obama on his presidency or on what your perceptions are?



    hey thanks Steve for the reply (none / 0) (#55)
    by BTD Adopted Son on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 03:14:01 PM EST
    Ok so you will concede the fact that if collins specter and snowe are that firm then they do infact have a veto power?

    So do we believe Nelson and Snowe when they say, " you will not have my support on this bill if you make extreme increases to it" ?

    I mean those seem like pretty clear statements don't you?

    And if collins and snowe do infact vote against an increase stim pkg would that be our faults for not taking them seriously?

    So even if we go to conference and we get a bill " somewhat between the house and senate" then we still don't get every thing we want right?

    I sure HOPE you're right steve.


    Shrug (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by Steve M on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 04:27:58 PM EST
    I negotiate for a living, so I've seen plenty of emphatic statements that turn out to be nothing more than blowing smoke.  Sometimes people broadcast that they're inflexible precisely because they're hoping you won't put them to a difficult choice.

    Obama is very popular, and both Specter and Collins represent states that voted for him by wide margins.  If he decides to spend political capital by putting them to the test, it is by no means a sure thing that they will defy him and risk a backlash from the voters.  There's leverage on both sides in this negotiation.


    Hey Steve (none / 0) (#65)
    by BTD Adopted Son on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 04:39:59 PM EST
    thanks man i like you.

    Thank you for reply to me.

    I completely get it from a negotiation   standpoint.

    But correct if i'm wrong but didn't snowe or collins just get re-elected?

    And even if we had specter  that would only get us to 59 -- because franken'd not in yet

    6 year term right?.  After 6 years do you really think the voters will remember? enough of them

    How can we leverage 6 years steve?-- really? seriously be frank with me

    I mean come on after we had a obama /democratic tsunami-- completely flush out the new england area-- and those senators were still standing  despite obama winning by what 11-20 points?


    You think we hold a national election (none / 0) (#71)
    by Cream City on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 06:10:34 PM EST
    for president.  We do not.  We hold almost 60 elections, just all on the same day.  (Or not even on the same day anymore, with mail-in voting.)

    Why do you say a good bill has no chance (none / 0) (#50)
    by ruffian on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 02:43:47 PM EST
    of passing? Make the Republicans really filibuster a good bill. They would cave to pressure in a week, or maybe two if that's what it takes, and the bill would pass the Senate with at least 51 votes. It is worth a try.

    thanks -- ruffian i guess it's hard for (none / 0) (#58)
    by BTD Adopted Son on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 03:28:23 PM EST
    me to wrap my head around this

    when someone says i will not do this if you do that--- then they turn right around and do the opposite of what they just said a few days ago-- on national tv.

    And also my understanding is we need 60 votes even when the final bill emerges from the conference is this correct?  if not why?