Obama Meets With GOP, Acknowledges Criticismsby Tim Manni
President Obama met with House Republicans today to gain GOP support for his economic stimulus package. The House is set to vote on the $825 billion stimulus bill tomorrow.
Feeling the need to gain Republican support, President Obama said he didn’t expect 100% agreement or even 50% from GOP members:
“I don’t think too many Republicans are going to vote for the stimulus package because not too many of us think it’s going to work,” said Rep. Devin Nunez (R., Calif.).
Another factor hampering Republican support of the bill is the impact such a package would have on the country’s ever-growing deficit. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that a $825 billion recovery package would end up costing $1.2 trillion over 10 years:
That’s because the government will borrow to fund the plan and pay an estimated $347 billion in interest, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf told the House Budget Committee on Tuesday.
Also, criticisms were voiced by Republicans over the lack of immediate effect the stimulus will have:
The CBO estimates that roughly 64% of the $825 billion package would be put to use in 2009 and 2010, assuming a stimulus bill is signed into law in mid-February.
By contrast, Peter Orszag, Obama’s budget director, vowed to congressional leaders last week that 75% of the money would be spent within 18 months.
While it’s encouraging that the president is interested in gaining a Republican perspective — whether he needs the votes or not — Democrats should remember that if they want to gain bipartisan support, spending doesn’t equal effectiveness.