McConnell Puts the Brakes on Stimulus Plan
By Paul Kane
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) voiced skepticism today about the emerging economic stimulus plan, applying a brake to Democratic plans to quickly pass up to $850 billion in spending and tax cuts soon after President-elect Barack Obama's Jan. 20 inauguration.
"As of right now, Americans are left with more questions than answers about this unprecedented government spending, and I believe the taxpayers deserve to know a lot more about where it will be spent before we consider passing it," McConnell said in a statement, which will be publicly issued later today.
Obama's advisers and congressional Democrats have been huddling in the Capitol trying to craft a massive stimulus plan that could cost anywhere from $675 billion to $850 billion, while some economists are pushing for a total package worth more than $1 trillion.
McConnell -- the most powerful Republican in Washington, based on the filibuster-proof level of 41 GOP Senate seats -- called for many congressional hearings on the stimulus plan and some undetermined safeguards to assure the money is being spent wisely.
Details are still emerging as key negotiators retreated for the holidays and they aren't likely to reconvene face-to-face meetings until later this week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) have set a goal of passing the massive economic jolt as close as possible to Obama's swearing-in; House Democrats have considered passing the bill without it going through the committee process.
McConnell has the ability to dramatically slow the process or even block it, should all 41 Republicans come together in a filibuster.
McConnell specifically called for a weeklong cooling off period between when the bill is drafted and when it is voted on, allowing time to dissect it for signs of "fraud and waste."
Senate Democrats reiterated their contention that any quick passage of the legislation will require full acceptance by GOP leaders, who at this point have not been involved in negotiations.
"We want to pass it as quickly as possible. That will depend on whether we can get cooperation from Senate Republicans," said Jim Manley, spokesman for Reid.
Congress returns to start its 111th session on Jan. 6, two weeks before Obama takes office.
Posted at 2:28 PM ET on Dec 29, 2008
Share This: Technorati | Tag in Del.icio.us | Digg This
Previous: At Home and Abroad, a Tough Road Ahead for Obama | Next: Emanuel to Resign House Seat Jan. 2
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: tbushman | December 31, 2008 1:54 PM
Posted by: SGall23241 | December 30, 2008 9:56 PM
Posted by: postfan1 | December 30, 2008 12:52 PM
Posted by: georgfelis | December 30, 2008 11:47 AM
Posted by: glenjo | December 30, 2008 9:58 AM
Posted by: mollycoddle1 | December 30, 2008 5:52 AM
Posted by: zjr78xva | December 30, 2008 12:20 AM
Posted by: zjr78xva | December 30, 2008 12:12 AM
Posted by: JRM2 | December 29, 2008 11:37 PM
Posted by: NeilSagan | December 29, 2008 10:23 PM
Posted by: NeilSagan | December 29, 2008 10:16 PM
Posted by: Nissl | December 29, 2008 7:16 PM
Posted by: odell1 | December 29, 2008 5:47 PM
Posted by: Bowhunter | December 29, 2008 5:33 PM
Posted by: USDefender | December 29, 2008 4:14 PM
Posted by: affirm | December 29, 2008 4:09 PM
Posted by: SAINT---The | December 29, 2008 3:57 PM
Posted by: kdan4231 | December 29, 2008 3:57 PM
Posted by: star_key2 | December 29, 2008 2:45 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.