Partisan Fights Ahead on Stem Cells, Omnibus
By Ben Pershing
President Obama will please his party and anger much of the opposition today when he lifts constraints on funding for human embryonic stem cell research, kicking off a week that will also feature ongoing partisan debates over the massive omnibus spending bill and the administration's financial rescue plans.
Even as Republicans castigate Obama for his decision on stem cells, the president can take heart that so far, voters don't seem to be blaming Democrats for the perceived lack of bipartisanship in Washington during his administration. Or at least, not as much as they blame Republicans. The latest Newsweek poll finds that voters are tied on the question of whether congressional Democrats have done enough to "listen" to Republicans, but a clear majority believes Republicans have not done enough to listen to Democrats. A large majority also said that Obama has made "a reasonable effort" to work with and listen to Republicans, while the GOP has not returned the favor.
Some "leftover business" from last year -- the $410 billion omnibus package -- was left over just a little longer over the weekend, as Harry Reid couldn't quite get the 60 votes in the Senate necessary to move the package along last week. Reid will try again Tuesday, this time allowing 12 more Republican amendments than had been allowed before. Edward Kennedy, the subject of a star-studded Kennedy Center tribute Sunday night, is expected to be on hand in the Senate for the debate this time around.
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