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Thread: Barack Obama goes back on the offensive with stimulus plan

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Barack Obama goes back on the offensive with stimulus plan

    WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama decried as "inexcusable and irresponsible" the delay of his economic recovery legislation in Congress with an estimated 3.6 million Americans losing their jobs since the recession began.
    Obama's remarks were some of his most direct and pointed in support of the massive economic package that the Senate considered Friday and tried to pare down. Obama acknowledged the $900-billion-plus plan was not perfect and pledged to work with lawmakers to refine the measure, which he called "absolutely necessary."
    "But broadly speaking, it is the right size," Obama said in prepared remarks. "It is the right scope. ... It will take months — even years — to renew our economy. But every day that Washington fails to act, that recovery is delayed."
    The president named an outside economic team of advisers as the nation dealt with more bad news in the unemployment report for January. Employers slashed payrolls by 598,000, the most since the end of 1974, catapulting the unemployment rate to 7.6 percent. The rate is the highest since September 1992.
    "These numbers demand action. It is inexcusable and irresponsible to get bogged down in distraction and delay while millions of Americans are being put out of work. It is time for Congress to act," Obama said bluntly.
    "That's 3.6 million Americans who wake up every day wondering how they are going to pay their bills, stay in their homes, and provide for their children. That's 3.6 million Americans who need our help," he said.
    Borrowing themes from an address the night before to fellow Democrats on retreat in Williamsburg, Va., Obama reminded lawmakers that the Democratic Party won the White House and control of Congress.
    "The American people did not choose more of the same," Obama said. "They did not send us to Washington to get stuck in partisan posturing, or to turn back to the same tried and failed approaches that were rejected in the last election. They sent us here with a mandate for change, and the expectation that we would act."
    Obama's feisty speeches, delivered back-to-back, were a reminder of the aggressive campaigner who helped his party boot Republicans from office. It was also a sign he and his advisers were increasingly worried about losing their first major legislative priority so soon after taking office.
    "These Americans are counting on us," he said. "All of us in Washington must remember that we're here to work for the American people. And if we drag our feet and fail to act, this crisis will turn into a catastrophe. We'll continue to get devastating job reports like today's — month after month, year after year."
    Obama signed an executive order to create an outside panel of experts to help steer the economy out of a tailspin.
    Obama had already tapped Paul Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman and a top Obama adviser, as the leader of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Members will include former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman William Donaldson, TIAA-CREF President-CEO Roger Ferguson and Harvard University professor Martin Feldstein, who wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece last year titled "John McCain Has a Tax Plan To Create Jobs."
    Obama friend and campaign finance chairwoman Penny Pritzker also is on the board, as is Caterpillar Inc. Chairman-CEO Jim Owens and General Electric Co. CEO Jeffrey R. Immelt. Two labor officials — Anna Burger of Change to Win and Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO — also were named to the 15-member board designed to offer Obama advice as he seeks a way to weather the crisis and rebuild the economy.
    The new council is intended to be an economic sounding board for Obama — an outside-the-Beltway group that will report to the president directly. It will meet regularly with Obama, perhaps once a month. Its mission will include responding to requests from Obama — such as delving into a particular subject — without competing with the National Economic Council or day-to-day decision-making at the White House.
    The Labor Department on Thursday reported that the number of newly unemployed workers seeking jobless benefits hit the highest level since 1982.
    Obama says latest economic news demands action
    It's about time Obama started getting feisty and started taking back control of the message.

    You can only be mister nice-guy for so long before people *cough* GOP *cough* start taking advantage of it. Bipartisanship is good, but it has it's limits.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    blah blah blah SHUT UP ABOUT BIPARTISANISM AND RAM IT THROUGH.

    The Rethugs didn't give a fuck about bipartisanism for the last fucking decade when they were kicking you in the face, they aren't going to care now.

    P.s. Ditch Pelosi and Reid, they're wimps.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Moongirl's Avatar
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    I loved his speech yesterday at the Democrats' retreat:

    Obama fires up House Democrats to help push through stimulus bill - CNN.com

    Obama fires up House Democrats to help push through stimulus bill

    WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia (CNN) -- President Barack Obama said Thursday that "the scale and the scope" of his economic plan is right, turning up the heat on critics he said were hawking "phony arguments" and "false theories of the past" to chip away at the bill's programs.

    "Don't come to the table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped to create this crisis," the president said at the House Democrats' annual retreat in Williamsburg.

    "We're not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that, for the last eight years, doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin," he said. "We can't embrace the losing formula that says only tax cuts will work for every problem we face, that ignores critical challenges like our addiction to foreign oil, or the soaring cost of health care, or failing schools and crumbling bridges and roads and levees.


    "I don't care whether you're driving a hybrid or an SUV -- if you're headed for a cliff, you've got to change direction."

    The Democrats welcomed the president with frequent interruptions for applause as he took on criticisms of the bill.

    Obama said he valued "the constructive criticism and healthy debate that's taking place around this package," but added that speedy passage of the bill was essential.

    "We're not moving quickly because we're trying to jam something down people's throats," he said. "We're moving quickly because if we don't, the economy's going to keep getting worse."

    Obama rejected calls for more tax cuts and significant slashing of the bill's more than $800 billion price tag, and said complaints the package was a spending bill rather than a stimulus bill were off base.

    "What do you think a stimulus bill is?" he said. "That's the point."

    To critics who argue that the government shouldn't be spending billions with a large and growing deficit, Obama said, "I found this national debt doubled, wrapped in a big bow waiting for me as I stepped into the Oval Office."

    The American people called for change in November, he said, "and that's what we're going to deliver."

    "They did not send us here to get bogged down with the same old delay, the same old distractions, the same talking points, the same cable chatter," he said. "They did not vote for the false theories of the past, and they didn't vote for phony arguments and petty politics, and they did not vote for the status quo."

    Obama told his fellow Democrats that they have "the capacity to do great things" on behalf of the American people, "but we are going to have to do it by not thinking about ourselves."

    "It starts with this economic recovery plan," he said. "And soon, we will take on big issues like addressing the foreclosure problem, passing a budget, tackling our fiscal problems, fixing our financial regulation and securing our country."

    But, he stressed, the battle over the stimulus bill is not "an abstract debate."

    "If we do not move swiftly to sign [the act] into law, an economy that is already in crisis will be faced with catastrophe," he said. "This is not my assessment. This is not Nancy Pelosi's assessment. This is the assessment of the best economists in the country. This is the assessment of some of the former advisers of some of the same folks who are making these criticisms right now."

    "This is not a game," he said. "This is not a contest for who's in power and who's up and who's down."

    It's time, he said, to "set aside the gamesmanship in this town and get something done."


    Behind closed doors after his speech, Obama fielded a handful of questions from House Democrats.

    Asked about Afghanistan, Obama pointed to a number of reviews under way -- including ones by his national security team and by the U.S. Central Command -- of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

    The United States cannot win there by military means alone, Obama said. He stressed the need to make sure that Afghanistan does not become a safe haven for terrorists. The president highlighted the importance of diplomatic efforts in Pakistan as well.

    On the subject of fiscal discipline, Obama referred to the economic stimulus package, getting credit going again so small businesses can get loans, stemming home foreclosures with next expenditure of the Troubled Assets Relief Program, and the executive compensation limits his administration set this week for businesses that accept taxpayer bailouts.

    Asked whether he would lift the ban on stem cell research, the president promised to sign an executive order to do so. Obama said he wants to coordinate with House and Senate leadership to craft an executive order - based on science, fact and reason -- strong enough to avoid a quick reversal. Obama's comments impressed Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Louisiana.

    The president "said he'd rather do what's right and serve one term than just do what's politically good and be a mediocre president and get to serve two terms," Melancon said.

    Melancon, a fiscal conservative, said he didn't support every program in the House bill.

    "We couldn't explain some of them," he said. For instance, "how does giving out condoms put people back to work?"

    But Melancon criticized Republicans who focused on only a small fraction of the stimulus bill, calling it "chump change."

    He acknowledged that although a stimulus package might not work, he said Congress needs to act or risk "total collapse" of the economy.

    House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland praised Republicans who voted with Democrats and said they showed true bipartisanship. But he railed against the Republican leadership, which told its members to vote against the original stimulus bill.

    "Now they seem to be fired up and ready to say 'no,' Hoyer said. "We hope that they will change their minds."

    Republicans have blasted numerous measures in the $819 billion stimulus package that the House passed last week, such as funding for veterans in the Philippines, sod on the National Mall and honey bee insurance. Such provisions have nothing to do with stimulating the economy, Republicans say.

    Hoyer acknowledged a need for compromise on some points important to the Democrat leadership, but he declined to specify what he'd be willing to sacrifice to get the bill passed.

    CNN's Brianna Keilar, Emily Sherman and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Republicans are not interested in anything else but gamesmanship. God, will that please dawn on someone?

    Just ram the fucker through.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    complaints the package was a spending bill rather than a stimulus bill were off base.

    "What do you think a stimulus bill is?" he said. "That's the point."
    I loved that part.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    Republicans are not interested in anything else but gamesmanship. God, will that please dawn on someone?

    Just ram the fucker through.
    Doesn't work in the Senate. The Dems don't have 60 people in there.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    *blink*

    Then just kill off a couple rethugs! Nobody will miss them.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Friday, Feb. 6, 2009 12:50 EST
    Republicans take a swing at Obama

    Thursday night, it appeared Barack Obama finally had enough. During a speech to House Democrats, Obama admonished Republicans for their opposition to the stimulus bill, saying at one point, "[D]on't come to the table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped to create this crisis."

    The GOP wasn't too fond of Obama's criticism. The Plum Line's Greg Sargent reports that House Republicans sent blast-emails to journalists asking, "What happened to bipartisanship?" Included were links to articles suggesting that Obama's speech represented his desertion of his commitment to bipartisanship.

    This marks a significant change in GOP strategy. Until now, they'd largely blamed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Democratic congressional leaders for the failings they perceive in the stimulus bill. Taking on Obama directly is a bold shift, considering the president's high approval rating and the country's continually worsening financial crisis.

    But, the GOP's release is brazen for another reason as well. It's as if they think the public hasn't been paying any attention to the stimulus debate. Obama has gone out of his way to accommodate Republicans, listening to their economic ideas, lauding the party's leaders, plying them with cookies and cocktails. And what did it get him? Not a single House Republican voted for the stimulus bill. The public noticed, too -- in a recent CBS News poll, 81 percent of respondents said they think Obama is trying to work with House Republicans on the stimulus, and 49 percent said they think House Democrats are trying to be bipartisan as well. Only 41 percent said the same thing about the GOP members.

    ― Vincent Rossmeier

    Republicans take a swing at Obama - War Room - Salon.com

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    I think Obama sounds good, but he needs to quit trying to push something through that has this in it:

    $650 million for digital TV coupons and $600 million to replace a portion of the federal government vehicle fleet.

    That's just wasteful.

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    Elite Member louiswinthorpe111's Avatar
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    I can't comment on the digital coupons, but I think the point of replacing the government fleet has to do with trying to bolster the American auto industry.

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
    I think Obama sounds good, but he needs to quit trying to push something through that has this in it:

    $650 million for digital TV coupons and $600 million to replace a portion of the federal government vehicle fleet.

    That's just wasteful.
    The digital TV coupons is to give more money to an existing program. More people will be able to buy tv converters, which increases business. A no-brainer economically since this can be spent immediately.

    Replacing the vehicle fleet is also to buy more fuel efficient vehicles. Again, money that can be spent quickly to boost the economy. Another no-brainer.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    the "pork" as the rethugs like to call it, is 1% of the total.

    1%.

    They can shut the fuck up, given Iraq and everything else.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    The digital TV coupons is to give more money to an existing program. More people will be able to buy tv converters, which increases business. A no-brainer economically since this can be spent immediately.

    Replacing the vehicle fleet is also to buy more fuel efficient vehicles. Again, money that can be spent quickly to boost the economy. Another no-brainer.
    A no brainer would be to NOT worry about people and their tv sets. Let them read a book if they can't afford to buy their damn tv.

    Another no brainer would be to spend $600 million on helping people save their homes, instead of the Assistant to the Assistant of the Deputy Director driving a new hybrid SUV.

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
    A no brainer would be to NOT worry about people and their tv sets. Let them read a book if they can't afford to buy their damn tv.

    Another no brainer would be to spend $600 million on helping people save their homes, instead of the Assistant to the Assistant of the Deputy Director driving a new hybrid SUV.
    It's an economic stimulus bill. What did you think would be in it? No spending? Solely "helping people save their homes" ain't going to bring back the economy.

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    I understand what stimulus is, but it's going to be hard to stimulate the economy when people are still sleeping in card board boxes. Do you really think buying the government new cars is going to make the rest of the nation want to spend?

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Some offensive!

    Latest Cuts To The Stim Package: Head Start, Child Nutrition, Food Stamps, Public Transit.


    Seriously? They just keep giving in to Republican demands and they just keep taking and taking and taking.

    Spineless Dems, why don't they have anybody who will fight in there. It's pathetic.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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