In a swift victory for President Barack Obama, the Democratic-controlled House approved a historically huge $819 billion stimulus bill Wednesday night with spending increases and tax cuts at the heart of the young administration's plan to revive a badly ailing economy.
The vote was 244-188, with Republicans unanimous in opposition despite Obama's frequent pleas for bipartisan support.
"This recovery plan will save or create more than 3 million new jobs over the next few years," the president said in a statement after the House voted. Still later, he welcomed congressional leaders of both parties to the White House for drinks as he continued to lobby for the legislation.
Whole AP report, via the Cincinnati Enquirer, here. Note: All GOP members and 11 Dems voted against it. Keep up the good work, fellas: Even the Obama folks have acknowledged that most of the jobs promised by bankrupting America even more than the Bush admin did won't come online any time soon (defined as sometime in 2010 or 2011), if at all.
There's a number of Republicans who have signaled they'd vote for a bill more heavy on "stimulus" (i.e. pork project they prefer) and across-the-board tax cuts. Not clear yet what the vote will be in the Senate, where an even larger bill looms, though one assumes passage given the partisan numbers.
And get ready for more pithy exchanges such as this one:
Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, sought to strip out all the spending from the legislation before final passage, arguing that the entire cost of the bill would merely add to soaring federal deficits. "Where are we going to get the money," he asked, but his attempt failed overwhelmingly, 302-134.
[Rep. David] Obey [(D-Wis.)] had a ready retort. "They don't look like Herbert Hoover, I guess, but there are an awful lot of people in this chamber who think like Herbert Hoover," he said, referring to the president whose term is forever linked in history with the Great Depression.
Note to Obey: Hoover massively expanded government spending and signed into law a horrible protectionist piece of legislation known as Smoot-Hawley. At the same time, he used the bully pulpit to hector businesses into keeping wages and prices high which only made it harder for a puffed-up economy to go through a painful but transitory adjustment. Given what you just passed and all the anti-China rhetoric coming from the White House, what exactly are you guys planning on doing differently?
Note to Republicans: Given your fecklessness when in power and serving under a GOP president, most of you have zero credibility when it comes to your newfound spines and concern for fiscal restraint. Work hard to gain back whatever smidgen of credibility by being consistently against big government and not just against big government Democrats.
And go here to watch President Obama's press secretary Robert Gibbs give a completely unconvincing explanation on today's Good Morning America of what the stimulus bill will do. Note the time frame for everything, which is pushed far enough in the future so that no accountability need apply.