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Stimulus Watch

Michael A. Fletcher writes in The Washington Post: "Warning that its passage into law 'does not mark the end of our economic troubles,' President Obama on Tuesday signed the $787 billion stimulus package, a measure he called the most sweeping financial legislation enacted in the nation's history.

"Obama used the occasion to step away from Washington, choosing not to sign the landmark bill in a White House ceremony surrounded by proud congressional supporters. Instead, he ventured 1,700 miles away from the capital and its partisan wrangling to the sunny atrium of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, where he called the legislation crucial to injecting new life into the nation's moribund economy....

"'What people see inside the Beltway is the nature of compromise and incrementalism that is part of the legislative process,' said Stephen J. Farnsworth, a communications professor at George Mason University who has studied how presidents market themselves. 'Outside, they notice that Obama wanted a major stimulus package and was able to deliver one within a month of becoming president.'"

Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Adam Nagourney write in the New York Times: "President Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus bill into law on Tuesday as leaders of both parties moved to position themselves for a political battle over who was responsible for the economy's problems and whether the legislation was the solution."

Even as Obama signed the bill, "Republicans were denouncing it as a waste of money. They asserted that it would not turn the economy around and that they were unified in 'disagreement with Congressional Democrats and President Obama,' in the words of Michael Steele, the Republican national chairman....

"Republican aides said they would seize on every instance of potential abuse as a way of stirring public doubt about the measure....

"Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama's chief of staff, said Republicans had undercut themselves with the vote.

"'This is the party that just decided to vote against tax cuts,' Mr. Emanuel said. 'You have a lot of members on the line who voted against tax cuts, and they also voted against important measures on health care and energy, and we know both areas are highly valued by the American public. If you are the party of action versus the party of inaction, the party of action wins.'"

Peter Baker writes in the New York Times: "President Obama blasted through all sorts of speed records pushing a $787 billion economic plan through Congress, arguing it was too urgent to wait. But even after signing it into law Tuesday, he faces another problem: virtually no one is in place at his cabinet departments to actually spend a lot of the money."

But White House aides told Baker "they were determined to make sure personnel gaps did not slow spending. Peter R. Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget, plans to send all agencies a 50-page memorandum on Wednesday detailing how the money should be used, another official said."

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 18, 2009; 12:58 PM ET
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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Comments

Republicans are screwed. They were so intent on winning the hearts and minds of the pundits that they forgot its the rest of America that actually votes them into office. Enjoy your 40 years in the wilderness.

Posted by: troyd2009 | February 18, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

For years after 9/11 the Bush administration and its Republican allies in Congress used the tragedy to tar Democrats as unpatriotic if they stood in the way of any of their misguided security initiatives. Over half the House Democrats joined in passing the Republican-written Patriot Act in 2001 and its renewal in 2006, despite the lack of Congressional oversight and violations of civil liberties that were anathema to Democratic principles.

The economic security of this country is as much a test of patriotism as its physical security. History will not forget that the Republican members of the House have put party over country in voting in lock step against the revised stimulus plan. This despite the dire economic news of the last months, President Obama's unprecedented outreach to Republican lawmakers, the trimming of $100 billion from the bill, elimination of all earmarks, and inclusion of tax cuts amounting to 40% of its total cost.

Is it any surprise that the Republican Party finds itself increasingly irrelevant to the future of the United States in the 21st century?

Posted by: sambam | February 18, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

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