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Reid: No Recess Until Stimulus Is Done

By Ben Pershing

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) just kicked off today's debate on the economic stimulus package by reiterating what most lawmakers, aides and reporters already expected and/or dreaded: The Senate will stay in Washington until a stimulus conference report has passed.

"We're not going to leave for Presidents' Day recess until we complete this," Reid said, though he expressed confidence that "there is every opportunity for us to complete [the stimulus] by Friday."

Assuming the measure gets the 60 votes needed to move forward this evening, a vote on final passage will happen at noon tomorrow. That would give the two chambers three days to reconcile two bills that spend more than $800 billion apiece, run to hundreds of pages and contain billions of dollars in differences. Once a deal is done, both chambers would then have to debate and vote all over again.

Given those hurdles, a weekend session looks more likely than a Friday finish. House Democratic leadership sources say members in that chamber already know that they are likely to be in session this weekend.

No matter how the stimulus measure turns out, one party will almost surely be disappointed -- the Sunlight Foundation. The group said today that "the House and Senate should each ensure that lawmakers and citizens alike have at least 72 hours of online access to the Stimulus Bill before its final consideration."

There is simply no chance that will happen, given the short time frame both chambers will be working with this week. In a process like this, crafters of legislation usually have to choose between transparency and speed, and it's clear in this case that leaders have chosen the latter.

By Ben Pershing  |  February 9, 2009; 1:40 PM ET
Categories:  Agenda , Senate  
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Let's hope Republican senators and representatives can defend their views as clearly and with as much detail, as President Obama did today in his townhall meeting in Elkhart.

Otherwise, Republicans should work with this administration, rather than against it, in reversing the economic policies which created this crisis.

We're already in the worst economic downturn in 33 years, with the prospect of becoming the worst in 75 years.

Obama was elected after making clear promises to change our country's economic policies and strategies.

He has a clear mandate to bring about those changes.

Why should Republicans, who won't acknowledge their many years of mistakes and the many problems they've caused, be listened to or trusted?

Posted by: OregonPerspective | February 9, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

The Borgen Project has some good info on the cost of addressing global poverty.

$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
$550 billion: U.S. Defense budget

Posted by: atsegga | February 9, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

If any member of the House coming from our State votes for this Stimulus Bill without the E-Verify clause in it, then I will make it my mission to email all of my friends, and blog friends, and campaign as hard agaist that member returning to represent our state in the next two years as the member will to keep his/her job. I believe with all of my being that all members of Congress and the House are forgetting my rights to not be invaded by a foreign country and this bill only highlights how careless they were this week to protect their own jobs. I also promise to be as active to reveal the members who went along with this exclusion of E-Verify requirements as one could be on a day by day basis for two years. This is OUR tax money and WE have EVERY right to want this clause kept in the House bill as it completes.

Posted by: | February 9, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

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