Tuesday, January 27, 2009

President Meets GOP On Capitol Hill; President "Optimistic", Republican Say They Still Have No Input,

The Washington Post discussed the President's optimism:

President Obama declared himself optimistic after meeting with Republican House leaders Tuesday afternoon and called for a suspension of partisan politics as he and lawmakers try to craft a rescue of the nation's economy. Speaking to reporters before heading into a similar meeting with Senate Republicans, Obama called the House meeting "constructive."

"The American people expect action," he said. "They want us to put together a recovery package that puts people back to work, that creates investments that assure our long-term energy independence, an effective health care system, an education system that works; they want our infrastructure rebuilt, and they want it done wisely, so that we're not wasting taxpayer money."

Mr. President, allow us to respectfully differ... here and here.

"But let no one be mistaken that this bill is the result of bipartisan egotiations. While Republicans were courteously consulted at the member and staff level, we were never at the negotiating table. Speaker Pelosi best described the bottom line on the process. She said: “Yes, we wrote the bill. Yes, we won the election.” That quote comes right out of the front page of the Washington Post, dated Friday, January 23, 2009." Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) said in a statement earlier in the day.

Grassley called the legislation "a deal made between the Democratic Leadership and the Obama administration. No Republican ideas need apply."

A "behind-the-scenes look from ABC highlights the discussions and illustrates how the Republicans are standing up to Obama:

Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., asked the first question, pushing for tax cuts that he said would move money into the economy more quickly.

The president said that if there are new ideas that he hasn't seen, he would like to talk about them. But on the issue of offering tax cuts to people who pay payroll and other taxes but who don't pay income taxes -- refundability -- Obama said there is simply a philosophical difference between Republicans and Democrats, and he would not compromise on that issue. Tax relief for some working families must come from payroll so even families who don’t pay income taxes get relief and they will spend it.

"Feel free to whack me over the head because I probably will not compromise on that part," the president said.

Obama said that there will be time to beat him up and a time for politics.
"I understand that and I will watch you on FOX News and feel bad about myself," he joked.

Rep. Pete Roskam, R-Ill., told the president that he won the presidency by rising above "Republicans" and Democrats" but that House Democrats are not living up to the Obama standard , he said. They have written a bill that spends more on re-sodding the National Mall than small business tax relief.

"The National Mall is kind of important," the president said, somewhat jokingly, prompting laughs.

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, received some applause after asking if the president could assure the room that this stimulus will not be an excuse to raise taxes and have wasteful spending.

Spending can sometimes be like closing the barn door after the horse has already left, President Obama said. This recession is different, he said. It's deeper and global. "Nobody is more worried about the deficit and the debt than me. I will be judged by the legacy I have left behind. I don’t want to leave our children with a legacy of debt. I am inheriting an annual yearly debt of over 1 trillion."

"At the pace we are going, we are doing irreparable damage to our economy," said the president. "We are going to have to make some very painful choices. We will present a budget with a realistic approach to eliminate debt, and bring down spending."

Brady's fellow Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling then made a passionate appeal for the president to focus on reducing the national debt.

President Obama agreed, but said these are extraordinary circumstances. "We have to pass this bill," he said.

Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., challenged some of the economists' underlying assumptions about the merits of government spending stimulus effect versus tax cuts. He proposed capital gains tax cuts and tax cuts on dividends to give the people who create jobs the ability to invest in the economy and create jobs.

Obama disagreed, saying most economists say we really need government spending in this unique circumstance to fill the hole create by economic loss.

Said Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md.: "Mr. President, I probably come at this from a slightly different perspective. I remember when FDR beat Hoover in 1932. So I remember the Great Depression very well. I don't remember any of the many government programs affecting the course of the Depression. Government programs didn't work then, I don't know why we think they would work now. Mr. President, I think our obsessive borrowing has fully mortgaged my kids and my grandkids. Now we're working on mortgaging my two great-grandkids. Mr. President, I think it's more than a little bit selfish to try to solve our economic problems which we created by burdening future generations yet to be born."
This prompted applause.

"Thank you for your outreach and the spirit in which you came here," said Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., the House GOP Conference Chair. "You mentioned that this bill had been negotiated in the House. Let me make it clear that there has been no negotiating in the House."

Democrats have shut them out of the process, he said, to applause.

"I don't expect a hundred percent agreement from my Republican colleagues," Obama said, "but I do hope that we can all put politics aside and do the American people's business right now."

Seriously Mr. President, take your own advice. The mere illusion of appearing bipartisan by spending a couple hours on Capitol Hill does not qualify as putting aside politics.

It is obvious to us what you and your Pelosi/Reid friends are planning.

And soon, the American people will learn the truth behind your "transparency" -- it is merely a cleverly designed political hologram designed to confuse and deceive the American people.

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  1. When I think of the 700 billion dollars (and counting) that we are spending to bring "freedom to Iraq", to rebuild Iraq's roads, bridges, schools, to train and equip their police force and army, the get their electricity working and to bring clean water to their villages....I have to ask "Where is the Republican outraged when all that taxpayer money was being spent on a foreign country thousands of miles away (despite Iraq's huge oil wealth)
    Sure, there's some spending programs that won't do a whole lot to stimulate the economy in Obama's package...but at least it's money that's being spent here in the US.

    I'd rather see my tax dollars go to to putting sod on the mall in Washington DC or building a bridge in Minneapolis... rather than being wasted over in Iraq.
    How do you explain to your children that we spent $700 billion in Iraq but have nothing to show for it but a shoe thrown in the presidents face.

    Why didn't the Republicans protest loudly about deficit spending and wasted tax dollars back then?

    Is it because the money was going to Iraq and not to America??

  2. To paraphrase your leader Obama, we have a different philosophy.

    That said, 61% of your Liberal buddies in the House and 42% of your Liberal Senators voted to approve the war. War is costly. And they all knew that.

    Much your "$700 Billion" was spent to build up a military depleted by the Clinton Administration.

    Still, regardless of your opinion of Iraq, this is not a "tit for tat" game you are playing.

    Simply because one party may have misused money in the past (and both sides have) does not give another party a blank check to spend frivousl just because... isn't that one of those "childish" things the President discussed?

    No one is denying something needs to be done, just in a more fiscally responsible way. You say "Sure, there's some spending programs that won't do a whole lot to stimulate the economy in Obama's package...but at least it's money that's being spent here in the US." You just made my case by saying that! If it won't stimulate the economy then don't include it in an economic stimulus bill!

    Finally, Speaker Pelosi advocated that any economic recovery bill be Timely, Targeted, and Temporary.

    The stimulus as is it currently written is none of these.