February 5th, 2009
09:22 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Stimulus Showdown

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/05/stimulus/art.staff.congress.jpg caption="Aides to the senators wait in the hall as Thursday's meeting takes place."]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

We're covering breaking news on Capitol Hill tonight. The Senate still has to vote on Pres. Obama's stimulus plan. There was talk of an all-nighter. But we're told that's no longer the plan. So, what's the hang-up? We'll have the new details from CNN's Dana Bash and Ed Henry.

Just moments ago, Pres. Obama spoke at a retreat for House Democrats in Virginia.  He called on the Senate to pass the stimulus plan.  It felt like a campaign speech, a campaign to get the deal done.  We'll play the passionate plea for you.

There's also new fallout over Michael Phelps' bong hit seen around the world.   One endorsement deal has gone up in smoke. And, the Olympic hero has been  suspended from competitive swimming for three months.

Do you agree with the punishment?

And, could there be a change soon at the Supreme Court? Justice Ruth Bader Gisburg is hospitalized tonight after undergoing surgery for pancreatic cancer. Will she step down? And, if so, who might be her replacement.

We'll have these stories and more tonight on AC 360°.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (288 Responses)
  1. Diane

    Cheney, Limbaugh, Hannity and Rove can sit in a little corner somewhere far off and enjoy their very small Republican Party. We are in a new era now, thank the Lord.
    Our Congress has work to do on the Stimulus Bill. (First they need to remove the words, "democrat and republican" from all conversations.) We need thinking minds to work on these terrible problems, no head nodders.
    We can do this America!

    February 9, 2009 at 4:07 am |
  2. Pawel

    1.Creating New Jobs:

    a) Businesses would be eligible to short and long terms loans – to keep the production./with the same commercial loans rate/

    Loans direct from the Federal Bank- use the second part of Tarp.

    b) Any Business owner who hires at least 10 new US workers for at least 1 year would be eligible for the Federal Business Loan – cost cut to the same rate as commercial banks are borrowing money for.

    b)Any business owner who hires each new US worker for at least 1 year would be eligible to reduction of the Federal Bank Loan equal to 6 months average unemployment benefits per each new employee hired
    ./or to the tax cut equal to 6 months average unemployment benefits /

    All the above is DUABLE.

    \Cost- Same as paying unemployment benefits for 6 months for each unemployed worker.

    February 7, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  3. Dave Richards

    I find it interesting, as I sit here listening to senators debate the stimulus package the term "bi-partisan". They talk about working together but their words ring hollow. What I think they are saying is that they will talk "at " each other, but will give no quarter. I consider myself a moderate and I voted for compromise. I sincerely hope to see in the future less partisan bickering in Congress. They argue while Rome burns. That doesn't serve the American people as well they could.

    February 6, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  4. Becky

    Did anyone ever notice that when you air senators speaking their are always people in the background sleeping. Outrageous....these are the people that we trust to make the best decisions, informed decisions, sleeping......and still employed

    February 6, 2009 at 8:24 pm |
  5. Becky

    I think that guests of the show need to start addressing President Obama as such, I find it disrespectful not to do so.

    February 6, 2009 at 8:18 pm |
  6. Ron L - Michigan

    As a long watcher of CNN I do not understand why so many of the questions on all of your shows are so "bland" or you allow guest to give less than accurate answers. Allow me to give you a few examples of the types of questions you should be asking...When a Republican Senator comes on that is against the stimulus package why don't you ask questions like...
    1) Why are you so concerned that people who earn $10,000 or less will get a little extra help?? Do you have any idea how hard it is to live on such a low income??
    2) " Many of your fellow Republicans feel the package is too large, and want it cut $100 billion or more. But MANY economist say going much lower than $800 billion will not be large enough to jump start a $15 Trillion dollar economy..Are you saying you have a better grasp of ecomonics than some of the most respected economic minds in the world??
    3) " Why are the Republicans focusing so much on the 1% of the stimulus package they feel are so wasteful. Does it mean that if the President got the 1% pulled out of it, would they then vote for it?? Or would they then find something else to complain about?
    I could go on, my point is MILLIONS of Americans are going to be effected by this and it looks like you and many of your fellow Anchors are playing "SOFTBALL" when you question these individuals??? COME ON, THEY ARE PLAYING POLITICS and it needs to be exposed for what it is.

    February 6, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  7. Art Nunez

    I believe that instead of bailing out the banks, we should put people
    to work . This way they can pay off their mortgages which helps the
    banks which helps the economy.
    By the way does anyone in DC pay taxes?

    February 6, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  8. Tom

    A good stimulus would be to keep gas prices low. The main reason I am afriad of buying a new car or purchasing anything major is because of recent high gas prices. What is being done to keep gas prices low for the next few years?

    February 6, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  9. Jeannie Brooks

    I am disheartened by your coverage of the stimulus debate. We voted for Obama in droves because we beleieve his ideas can lead us back to prosperity. McSame lost the election because of the economic downturwn. Why are you giving him and the Republicans credibility? Winning the election means we are going to have a solution shared 50:50 with the losers, with the economy destroyers??
    Obama's generous efforts to achieve bipartisanship is commendable; he has invited them to contribute job-creation ideas which will save us from catastrophe . But they have none. They sing tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts... tax cuts for the rich and powerful which will trickle down to jobs for the commom people. We voted No – no more trickle down economics! We are not stupid! .They believe the road to ruin is the same as the road to recovery. We voted "change" direction!!!!

    February 6, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  10. Benjamin

    The ideal stimulus would take half of the 900 billion and distribute it to every Man, Women, and Child in this country. That's 150,000 dollars for everyone (give or take)! That means no more foreclosures, an dramatic increase in retail and automotive sales, and reinvestment into the markets. Here's the catch. The money would first go to non mortgage debt for everyone over 18 and towards healthcare and college tuition for everyone over. What ever is left would be yours to spend how you'd like. This keeps inflation in check. So whatcha think?

    February 6, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  11. KC




    February 6, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  12. joyce from Kano, Nigeria.

    Republicans!!!! Try something new for once. Take a leap of faith. This new guy (Obama) seems genuine. Trust him, I beg. He won, you guys didn't!!!

    Leave Mr Phelps alone. The guy has lived practically underwater for years. He needs a breather!!!!!!!

    February 6, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  13. Wm. Scott Francis

    Obama is breaking away from the old policies? I do not think so. Where did we hear the line, "This bill has to be passed tonight!"? It is what got us into this mess the first time, and now we are repeating it.
    1) Listen to Mitt Romney. We need tax breaks first to kick-start the economy. Obama would do well to include him in his cabinet. I do not think he has any tax problems!
    2) Forget about spending 1 trillion dollars that will as most of it will not have an immediate impact on jobs and the economy, is filled with pork that has absolutely no business being in the bill, and will mortgage both our and our children's future and put the U.S. into a hole it will never get out of.
    3) Forget looking for a wholesale solution to the problem. It will be a crap-shoot at best. Let Obama take his best ideas on what will help the economy the most and fastest right now, and do those things first. That will buy him some time to map out a better and further course that builds on a successful foundation that people can feel good about rather than something that only adds to their fears.
    4) Let Obama talk to the banks and find out where the bail-out money went to, and get them to use the money as it should have been. Who cares if they did not need to account for it? It is our money they are hording.
    5) In t he meantime, he can clean-up Washington as it needs to be so Democrats and Republicans can forget their individual interests and work united on American's problems as they need to so we have a Congress that can be truly effective in getting things done.
    The spending bill will have "free money" and "greed" and "pet projects" written all over it. It is money got us into this mess. Let us learn from our lessons and not react to, or give in to our fear. America needs to use a firm and strong hand to pull ourselves out of this.
    Does this make more sense? If so, we cannot let this spending bill be passed!

    February 6, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  14. carolyn

    President Obama indicated he didn't know about the debt, where was he last year. Things were not good during his campaign, did he just ignore the reality. Also as a Senator he should have been in attendance to there meetings and then he would have known, as well as when he was speaking to everyone in the country. Too late to play the blame game now. I think he has awakened from what he honestly thought was a dream but is now a nightmare that the whole country is sharing, and the reality has hit hard. Circumstances that are beyond our doing has affected everyone – (9/11, Katrina and many disasters that were not as big but nevertheless devastating. Crime and greed have also been right there. There is a feeling of disbelief and fear with the economy. Makes me think about the predictions about the year 2000.

    February 6, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  15. Michael C. McHugh

    I like Obama a lot better than the political parties we have in this country. In the Senate, we have too many Democrats who act like Republicans, and always join with them to block any meaningful change. It says something about the state of our democracy when you can win an election, win the presidency and Congress, and still the same old corrupt, conservative gang can block all meaningful change. I don't know what's wrong with some of these so-called Democrats who refuse to bank Obama. Are they wimps? Are they crooked? Have they just been Washington insiders too long?

    February 6, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  16. Warren Beglin

    How hypocritical can you get? The economy's in the dumper and our Senators go off on a "retreat"! How much of OUR money did they spend for that? Couldn't they have met in D.C.? And just how much did it cost for a 747 to take Obama and Biden back and forth to Williamsburg? Washington is a joke!

    February 6, 2009 at 7:38 am |
  17. len eline

    there is an old saying in the study of history, that if you are not familiar with it you are bound to repeat it. i believe that is very true for oir current economic plight

    February 6, 2009 at 7:27 am |
  18. Martin Altizer

    This whole economic fiasco started with the 'bail-out' of Wall Street investments that were already Federally backed. Then it seems that every idiot with a salary over $100K is whining for a billion or two.
    Maybe Obama should considr people such as my wife and I- we live on less than $30K a year (SSDI- our retirement fund was embezzled over 10 years ago) We manage our mortgage, feed ourselves without a food-stamp card, and drive a paid-for Kia Sedona. My Social(in)Security increase this year wouldn't buy a salad for Ms. Pelosi, or a desert for her cohort in crime Dianne Feinstein.
    So, Barack. howsa'bout a JOB for a retiree. I'll even work from home, and only bill the taxpayers a fraction of the Foggybottom bozos?

    Also- Michael Phelps should quit with the apologies, tell Kellogs to pack their corn-flakes where their Cheez-it come from, and remind the world that his pot-disabled lungs provided hos doper's body to 10 Gold Medals.

    February 6, 2009 at 6:44 am |
  19. Bruce

    Why not provide a stimulus package to the American people in the form of a bail out. The government can put a stipulation on how that money should be spent. Example, give ever tax payer a package to pay off or down their mortgage followed by paying off other debt they may have. This would shore up banks that hold mortgages; people would begin to purchase products, etc. Monies that are left over should be invested back into stock market to help stimulate business growth. This would also provide the American people who have lost their jobs a rescue net during these tough times. After all this money comes from the people who pay taxes. Given we are the majority – not the Congress or President – we the people should have a share in the bailout. The banks have had their bailout!

    February 6, 2009 at 6:10 am |
  20. Sylmer

    Greetings All! "Economic Stimulus" is starting to sound like "War on Terror." Upon filing 2008 tax returns, a "stimulus" amount was required in order for the IRS to even process a return. My Wife and I stood to gain a $5300.00 until the system deducted our entire 2008 stimulus amount leaving us only $3500. The stimulus seems to have been an advance to the taxpayer (who qualified) on his/her 2008 income taxes.
    Im no Bill O'riely (i'm not a hugh fan so excuse the spelling Bill) but who's gonna be ready in the 2009 tax season to "FACTOR" in this "Stimulus?"

    February 6, 2009 at 5:45 am |
  21. Sherrie

    His Stimulus package is just what we need we are in a crisis right now and most people who disagree should offer their position to the people who need it . Republican had eight years to fight before this came about. I work for the Goverment and do not have health care. So it's for Most people like me American Citzen of the United States. They put up a fight for 8 years to create this Big Debt

    February 6, 2009 at 5:26 am |
  22. Renee Estrads

    Why do we the people need to bail out the big guys? Greed got us in This mess stop all the tax cuts on the oil companies (those were to be for developing renewable energy, that never happened) and tax them like they do us and tax the big CEOs also get an auditor in the white house and coLlect taxes of all those we pay as tax payers (seems most have back taxes). Ask him to make a bill where we the people have to vote for senators and representatives to get a raise the way it is they vote themselves one at will (pay cap?).

    Renee Estrada
    Granbury, TX

    February 6, 2009 at 4:19 am |
  23. Sounds like a used car-salesman

    Obama is begining to sound like a used car-salesman.

    "You've got to buy this now!"

    Haste makes waste.

    America is getting deeper and deeper into

    the black hole.

    We are indebted to Russia, China, Japan, and we

    want to get into more debt for example :

    to provide Inouye's pork

    for Philipino veterans?

    Slice the pork.

    Trim the pork.

    Fry the pork.

    Boil the pork.

    Marinate the pork.

    Sizzle the pork.


    We cannot afford the pork.


    February 6, 2009 at 4:17 am |
  24. Lori Metevia

    After doing extensive research, it is clear to me that the Obama Stimulus plan would completely fail. I admire Mr. Obama for his dedication to the American people, but his plan was poorly though out.

    The first thing that Mr. Obama needs to do is address the insolvent banking system. Senator John Kerry, Bob Crocker and famous economist Nouriel Roubini have all admitted that our banking system is insolvent. The most cost-effective way to address this problem is to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act. This would allow the banking portion to continue providing loans to companies, state governments and consumers while the investment side could absorb the toxic assets that has bought this industry to its knees. There would be almost no cost to taxpayers and the real economy would be allowed to continue. With our current system, banks have become zombies and small businesses and companies are forced to shut down for lack of capital. For every 1 job that Obama creates with his bill, 5 will be lost to companies who cannot survive without capital.

    The second thing that Mr. Obama needs to do is provide a stimulus check big enough to inspire confidence with the American people. When you give someone who is jobless $1000, he can pay half a months worth of bills, but that is about it. However, if Mr. Obama could give each American family making under $300,000 a $10,000 check, this would create confidence and people would feel confident to spend their money.

    Lets thank the Republicans for knowing when a bill is bad for America. Obama's bill would essentially be a waste of money. Unfortunately, a country with almost $12 trillion dollars of debt cannot afford to waste anymore money.

    February 6, 2009 at 4:13 am |
  25. Renee Estrads

    Phelps suspended from competition, dropped by Kellogg He won 8 gold medals for our country and was clean. He does one minor offence and Jr is hated. Kellogg drops him good message to send to the youth do good and be perfect. Sorry Kellogg the only perfect human ever on this planet was Jesus. I say for myself and family and a lot of my friends we will be boycotting Kellogg! Nobody I know is good enough for that company!
    Renee Estrada
    Granbury, TX

    February 6, 2009 at 4:05 am |
  26. case

    Can I ask if ..If Hillary or McCain was asking for this stimlus
    would it have as much problems (pork or no Pork)..
    Its like the Pres. was asking for a $1.4 trillion food stamp cheque.
    Its a case of slap him down and none of them will ever get back
    up again...and this is where it starts.
    P.s one mans pork is another mans only meal of the day!!!

    February 6, 2009 at 3:40 am |
  27. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Please call your senators to pass the stimulus package. Let them know we need this pass now!!! I love Pres. Obama. I am support him ( Pres.Obama) behind 100 percent!

    February 6, 2009 at 3:13 am |
  28. Ian

    Why do people think the bipartisanship equals compromise? What it should mean is listening to and acting on good ideas regardless of there source. That, I believe, is Pres Obamas understanding of bipartisanship, which is why he is right to reject and chastise the Republicans for the same tired ideas.

    We have had 8 years of tax cuts and they have NOT stimulated the economy one bit. If Joe the Plumber or his neighbors get a tax cut, he won't spend it. He has to save the money because even if he's still got a job he's worried about loosing it. He will only start spending again when his job is more secure. We need spending by the government that creates jobs, keep your tax cut and give me a chance of staying employed.

    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome, by definition a Republican trait.

    February 6, 2009 at 2:59 am |
  29. Fana

    If 11 million unemployed Americans isn't an urgent enough crisis to reach an agreement on the stimulus bill, who knows how far they are willing to feud! I do not believe it's partisanship when you're passionately asking for a compromise and swift recovery plan for the American economy by those who represent it. By opening the speech to the press and sending senate reps home tonight, the media will pass the urgency on to Americans, setting up pressure to get the bill passed on in the morning.

    February 6, 2009 at 2:38 am |
  30. Charlene

    How can these Senators support spending three trillion dollars in Iraq (a tiny little country, one third the size of Texas) and not be willing to spend to assist Americans when our country is in the worst shape it has ever been in. This is insane. We really need a grass roots movement to get these dinasaurs out of office like–term limits. They go to Washington and think they are priviledged and that they don't have to answer to anyone – they don't care about us. It does not make sense that anyone should live on tax payers dollars for 20 or 30 years and then retire and tax payers have to still pay them a pension.

    February 6, 2009 at 2:33 am |
  31. Don H.

    Anderson: Congress and the President are moving to fast on the "Stimulus". In November 2007, under Bush, the sky was falling, the bail-out was required to prevent disaster. Look what happened when in haste, Congress passed the bail-out bill Pub.Law 110-343, $350 billion down the drain, not one job saved, not one house saved from foreclosure. Haste makes waste. Back in 2007 I predicted and wrote to my congressman, that Congress needs to prepare for 15% unemployment. This is the plain reality of the circumstance we are in; and the proposed 650+ page stimulus HR #1, will not do a single thing to preventing 15% unemployment by or before the end of 2009. If you are interested in a sober, straight forward approach to kick-starting the basics of recovery read http://socrates911.blogspot.com

    February 6, 2009 at 2:31 am |
  32. Mark

    I was very turned off by the fear tactics used in Pres. Obama's speech tonight.

    February 6, 2009 at 2:23 am |
  33. Stacy

    This is getting out of hand and YOU the media are not making things any better.

    Stop speculating on how President Obama is dealing with this. To say he is basically being a bully until this stimulus package is approved.

    I am ashamed that you all are nit picking and putting words in his mouth. He is the President, he has the right to put his foot down. You all did not pull any other president apart like you are doing to this man.

    Yes his speech was passionate and no we don't hear that alot anymore why?????? He's working trying his best to get the job done.

    I am extremely worried about this stimulus package but what everyone is failing to realize is that we have to spend money just to break even in this economic crisis. Stop whining like babies and do what is right by the average american individual because believe me the only people that are complaining are those who are making over 100 grand.

    February 6, 2009 at 2:21 am |
  34. Roger Aldi

    It appears Republicans and pundits are underestimating Obama again. He will get consenus and what the country needs. He's clearly asking for a lot more than he wants or needs, so he can give the GOP something to cut. If the stimulous works, he wins. If it fails, he can blame the GOP for the cuts that caused the failure.

    February 6, 2009 at 2:20 am |
  35. Annette

    Once again the Republicans are stonewalling to keep President Obama from succeeding. Their agenda encompasses not the will of the people but their own political aspirations most probably for the next presidential election. Following the advice and deepest hopes of Limbaugh – they don't want to see this administration fail and in the process may bring down the entire country. A stimulus package must be passed. This nation is in possibly the greatest crisis it has yet to see and the entire world is collapsing because of it. If 700 billion can be given to the banks why on earth are they quarreling over giving money to help the American people. Again, they have their own agenda and it is not for the success of this country – it is for the failure of this administration. Shame on them. They have been feeding at the public trough for years and have no compassion for the American people. You would think that the overwhelming majority that elected Obama would have given them some hint but their intents are not for anything other than political confusion.

    February 6, 2009 at 2:20 am |
  36. James Bowen

    President Obama needs to kick Pelosi and Reid in the backside for them not controlling their caucuses. There can be no excuse for any Democrat not supporting the President at this time in our history. The republicans have adequately demonstrated what they think of bipartisanship. That provide the President the opening to ignore them from this point forward.

    February 6, 2009 at 2:16 am |
  37. vinessa

    Obama is doing what he needs to do as diplamatically as possible. This is a smart guy that knows the GOP is getting pressure from their own constituents and if he continues to point out that they are holding up this stimulus package, they will be targeted by all of us!

    February 6, 2009 at 2:16 am |
  38. Tony

    If you care about this country, PASS THIS BILL!!!

    I so tired so republicans obstructionism and tired old ideas. Where did all the moderate conservatives go? Obama made this bill 1/3 tax cuts, largely to appease them.... where's the compromise from the GOP?

    February 6, 2009 at 2:14 am |
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