The New York Times has not long reported a deal being struck between Senate and House Conference Committee members and the Congressional Leadership of both Houses.
It appears the $789 billion Economic Stimulus Package, pared down from the $838 billion Senate version and the $820 billion house version, will be headed to President Obama for his signature.
More soon on winners and losers in the bill, but the need for speed was apparent to all. The President’s media and town halls have helped force the sense of urgency and national polls have shown wide support for the proposed Stimulus Bill and for the President.
Coupled with worsening national unemployment numbers and Wall Street unease, the push to do something clearly has surpassed any desire by GOP members to slow the bill down to achieve a possible political victory.
The ability for the President to sign this bill into law is a victory, but a costly one. Political costs to get to the finish line have been high. The GOP has found their voice and power as the minority party. There are frustrated Dems upset with programs cut in this package and the President’s catering to GOP members in cutting spending in the package.
However, since Election Day on November 4, the President consistently said the national economic situation is the priority and as such, it has occupied most of first weeks of the Obama Presidency.
So, as critics line-up to write attacks on the President’s first hundred days (yes, there is plenty of time left before that bench mark, but there are some awfully hungry critics out there…), the President’s focus on the economy as job one is unquestionable.
Measurement of success is another issue, for another day.
As far as the reconciliation process in the House, the US Senate really was holding the cards. The vote for the President’s Economic Stimulus Plan passed easily without any GOP votes, but the same is not true in the House. In order to hold onto the 3 Senate GOP votes, the mandate on making cuts and having bigger tax relief in the package was critical.
Coupled with the ticking clock, advantage went to the Senate and the deal looks done.
In the meantime, banking industry executives were hauled before the House today and took a very public beating during questioning on issues surrounding the previous bank bailout money – where did it go, why isn’t it being invested for economic growth and executive compensation.
More soon, but I have to head off to view the US v. Mexico World Cup Qualifier broadcast live this afternoon and will stimulate the economy with a pint of an IPA at my local, The Fox and Goose on 10th and R Streets in Downtown Sacramento (www.foxandgoose.com).