January 27th, 2009
12:07 PM ET

Obama works phones for stimulus

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/27/obama.stimulus/art.obama.afp.gi.jpg caption="Barack Obama is meeting with Republican lawmakers as he tries to get support for his stimulus package."]

Suzanne Malveaux
CNN White House Correspondent

President Obama is hands-on in shaping the $825 billion economic stimulus package, urging his fellow Democrats to take out provisions he feels are unnecessary and controversial, according to a senior administration official.

An Obama aide said the President has personally called House Democratic leaders recently to urge them to remove a $200 million family planning provision that would have made it easier for states to use federal funds to provide contraception for poor families.

One of those calls was to Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman of California, Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and one of the most influential liberal members in the House. The Obama aide said the President urged Waxman and other Democrats to take out the provision because it was a hot button issue among Republicans, and did not focus on the mandate of creating jobs as quickly as possible.

In trying to win over Republicans, President Obama is also bringing a Republican ally along for his trip on the Hill. By his side will be his Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, former Congressman of Illinois, one of two Republicans in his Cabinet. LaHood is a veteran of Capitol Hill, a moderate, and a long time friend of Mr. Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel with whom he co-hosted bipartisan dinners as a member of Congress.

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Martine

    Honestly, watching the news about this economic crisis we're in is not only stressful, it's disgraceful. Does the government really think us American's are that foolish to believe proposing 825 more billion dollars is going to help us? Why not give each American taxpayer over 18 a million dollars and let us bail ourselves out? Why not clear all are credit reports of past debts, restore our scores to perfect and give us a second chance? I'm so tired hearing us giving millions of dollars to banks who helped put us in this mess; bailing out Bank of America because Merrill Lynch paid out billions to their company execs before going under; the new Treasury Secretary who was called 'brilliant' and the only man who can get us out of this mess stated by our Senators yet he didn't know he should pay tax on self employment income! We don't want the whole pie, we just want a fair share...where's our second chance? It seems the only say the American people have was voting Obama into office. Our government has allowed the lending companies to rob us blind, the oil companies to make billions off gas while we put yet another hole in our budgets yet these are the same people to now fix the problems. Had anyone ever considered giving the American people even $500K? Come on, what does $300 do...at the time all it did was pay for groceries, fill up a gas tank and pay the tickets from the speeding cameras set up to make states more money! Even if we were to get $500K, guess what, the government would still have "change" in more than once sense of the word!

    January 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  2. Mary

    If there is 200 million earmarked for family planning, then there are millions more earmarked for spending in causes not germane to solving our nation's economic woes. For once, can't we have a bailout or a stimulus package that keeps on track? I would like to know if there is a web site listing line by line just who stands in line to receive funds from this 825 billon. I'm curious with so many Americans unemployed, why the living quarters at the White House are to be redesigned. While I don't think 1.12 million will be spent, I feel this line item should be deferred until the economy improves.

    January 27, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  3. Pat Canada

    If it's any consolation our Government of the Day's new Budget slash Stimulus Plan has been shot down by their opposing Parties and all is on hold here as well. And I'm relieved as Infrastructure way into the future, tax cuts that aided the top echelon and gave scant to the middle class and proposed job incentives that will never be realized due to red tape are not my kind of Stimulus for a Deficit of 64 Billion! Most here think lots of political talk with no intentions for action.

    January 27, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  4. Bill Will

    Let's cut to the change here, and repair the financial jam OUR country is in first. Until we do that, there is no reason to move forward with anything else...period!.

    President Obama, his staff, and congress are tossing around all sorts of ideas for "the big fix" , most of which, in my honest opinion won't work, or at least haven't worked in the past.

    Let's face it, what we need is jobs, homes saved from forclosesure, health insurance for all, and money spent by the American public. Of course, it is impossible for someone who lost their job and/or income to pay their mortgage, afford health insurance, make a purchase, or spend money in any direction, and new jobs, as far as I can determine, do not exist!

    How about this idea for "the big fix":
    Let's forgive all income tax for the year 2008 for every person or family who earned $250,000 gross, or less, and every small business which declared a profit of $250,000 or less. Any income tax that this group owes is forgiven and never due, and any and all income tax they have already prepaid for the year 2008 will be refunded, with exception of FICA of course.

    Now, talk about people saving thier homes, afforing health insurance, spending money, and small business creating jobs for milolions, that would do it!
    How could anyone deny that it would do anything less?

    If I didn't have to pay my personal 2008 income tax, or business income tax, I am one American small business owner who would buy a new car (or two), pay my mortgage payments up to date, hire people to repair and improve my house, buy health insurance, go on a shopping spree to purchase some American made goods, and hire several new employees in my small business, and I am sure that I am not the only one in my situation who would do the same. The tax money that we have paid and /or owe for 2008 is the ONLY thing stopping us ALL from doing just that!

    Unless you have any reason to believe my plan won't work, let's call President Obama and tell him to do it, and do it now!

    January 27, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  5. Christine

    I'd like to see all the financial institutions in charge of our money, more regulated. Stop rewarding the financial crooks and start giving breaks to the financial insitutions that are doing their jobs right.

    January 27, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  6. Christine

    I'm democrat but would like to see some reform in our jail systems. Since the 3 strike laws, we have people in jail for shoplifting; either change the laws or offer them to serve the country at war? The immigrants should be sent back to their own countries and we should tighten security at our borders instead. Some of the social services should be handled by the states, charities and local churches. The cities and states need to help fight keeping jobs locally and not outsource jobs.

    January 27, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  7. Wendy

    I myself voted for Mr. Obama and believe in him and his change. My husband was laid off a couple of months ago from a steel plant. How fast your life changes.The question that bothers me the most is. We entrust are politicians to lead by example and do right for the people of this country.They in turn lie, cheat , spend money to upscale thier lifestyle in anyway they wish. Who's left to clean up the their mess and pay for it the AMERICAN PEOPLE. Now when we need this stimulus package to keep everything else from failing everyone wants to question where the money is going and we should. We do not have months to linger with meetings after meetings. Everyday is becoming worse for everone. We need to put the money to good use to help families and the economy grow again. Hold people accountable for their bad choices.

    January 27, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  8. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Stimulus packages are a give-and-take mechanism. You can't get what you want by not giving something in return-–trim a little more pork-–but their are limits to how much one can trim.....good luck Mr. President.

    January 27, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  9. angelika bertrand

    As a citizen, and former Social Worker, I am appaled how our hard earned taxes are being spend with the stimulus plan. I think we ought to go through item by item. Hence, we do not update the Washington D.C Veterans mall, hence we do not need new swimming pools, hence we do not need to spend millions on some artistic company. What we do need to get this economy going is. Spend the money on homeless families by purchasing them their own home. They than must find jobs, or gain more education and become self sufficient. Spend the money on higher education. Hence, rather than organizations, that will not do us any good.
    Spend the money wisely on single parents. Give them the tools they need, to not longer be dependend on the government for food stamps, and money and other services.

    Spend the money for the elderly, and handicapped. Keep local charity organization afload. Cause if we don't it will only get worse.
    Spend money by creating jobs in the tech area, media area, social services area and government area.

    Spend money wisely towards our military families and their off springs. Cause we depend on them.

    It is not necessary to update monuments, malls, government agency's when the economy is as hardest hit as it is.

    Government people listen to us the citizen.

    January 27, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  10. KAREN

    I dont know why congres is fighting Obama on this stimulus ,are country is in a vary bad way,we need this ,they better wake up.

    January 27, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  11. Pat Canada

    I'm 99% behind Obama. I think he will be one of the Greatest Leaders America ever had. BUT I do not agree with his stimulus pkg. Infastructure Projects over five or ten years will do nothing for present economic crisis. Crisis needs Immediate Action (Injection of funds). He needs to concentrate on plans that create jobs NOW and puts $$ into the hands of the M Class NOW. Also the Mortgage Crisis and Credit Card Debt. I'm disappointed as he's smarter than this. Also Disappointed in our Prime Minister's Recovery Plan along same lines!

    January 27, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  12. Cindy

    I figured that Obama would be calling Reps up or meeting with them trying to get them to back his package. I mean he does want this to look like it is a bi-partisan thing so that it looks like he isn't siding with one side over the other. And so that it looks like that they are all getting along and actually working.


    January 27, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  13. Robert Cammarota

    To President Obama,
    What about health care...
    Where is it...
    What burner is it on...
    With an increase in unemployment there is also an increase in loss of health care benefits, one of the main issues that got you elected...So why does it seem as though it has now become one of the least important issues..
    thank you
    Robert Cammarota

    January 27, 2009 at 12:26 pm |