February 11th, 2009
10:54 PM ET

The stimulus talks – behind closed doors

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/11/art.pelosi3.gi.jpg]Jessica Yellin
CNN National Political Correspondent

From a senior source in the room: The negotiators ate candied pretzels and drank diet coke. After complaints that the food wasn't so healthy they got fruit and cheese today.

Administration officials sat around the table with Senators and no staff. They worked on paper. No one had a laptop computer so it was all written on a pad and then input to the computer – which led to some confusion at times.

From four Democratic sources: Speaker Pelosi hit the roof when Sen. Reid went to microphone to announce the deal. Reid had called Pelosi in advance and she said, "do what you need to do." But she felt the deal wasn't done. When Reid got back to his office he was told Pelosi's furious. He called. They all walked over to Pelosi's office to work it out. One person present says that her people were angry so the Administration folks and Reid heard her out. The President then called Pelosi to say thanks for your support – ie, the train is leaving the station, let's all be on it. Pelosi was ready to go along and they moved on to resolve the final sticking points.

Now it's kumbaya and Reid, Pelosi and Obama are at the Ford Theater.

One administration official says the House leaders don't like the idea that they are being forced to accept terms dictated by a handful of Republican Senators. But that's a problem House Democrats will have going forward because they'll need the centrists on every big fight.

Also lots of House Dems are still smarting – the White House let them hang out there on their bill and they got rolled. But one Administration official says they've been reminded this is almost $800 billion more than they had when there was no deal....

More detail from one person present: they negotiated at a conference table in a room opposite Reid's office (inside his suite). At one point White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel took over one of Reid's aide's desks and was yelling at people, including Reid's staff 'till he said, "Oh you don't work for me; I can't yell at you." Lots of Emanuel running between the conference table room and Reid's office and making calls.

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Bruce Hoff

    Everyone is on edge to turn the economic situation around, as quickly as possable. So the Senate finally reaches an agreement and Pelosi gets her panties in a wad over protocol?
    GET A LIFE PELOSI! One that doesn't cause constant conflict with the folks trying to turn things around...........
    My hat is off to you folks for making a brave attempt at repairing our damaged economics. Thanks for working together!

    February 12, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  2. Mike, Syracuse NY

    You can sum up everything that's wrong with Washington in one word: Pelosi.

    February 12, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  3. Als

    This is not enough money Pres Obama need to go to Camp David and sleep for the rest of his term. Bush did it for 8 years and he's a hero. America can take care of itself. Everybody has an opinion after he got elected. Pres Obama said hes taking opionions and ideas nobodies taking him up on it. If you can not help shut up. Americans need to be apart of the solution because he will not do it by himself. Bush is away somewhere on vacation after he bankrupt this country .People walk over people who want to work hard. I say give them McCaine next year and see what hell we will be in. Other countris hate us already. Put Mccaine in office and he will be hated also because he believes in war.

    February 12, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  4. Larry L.

    I think the only important thing to the Democrats now is the have the tax money ,they have lots of money spend on there pet projects,and to repay political" debts",like ACORN. One Administration official says they’ve been reminded this is almost $800 billion more than they had when there was no deal….Tell me they aren't excited !!!!

    February 12, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  5. Nwabueze

    I am sorry about the way this Republican Senators are going about this stimulus deal.Their job is secure for a few year still and of course they still get paid.

    February 12, 2009 at 6:09 am |
  6. Pat Neichter

    What happened to the $15000 home buyer tax credit? This would have jump started many people paralyzed by the current crisis.

    Unless you are in foreclosure – some at the fault of the bank and some from personal irresponsibility youo don't count.

    The $15K would have jump started the housing market for us middle classers.

    Susie Orman only seems worried at bailing the Flordia family that bought a $600,000 house that has lost it's value. The payments are the same as they agreed to and if they lost their jobs then it is time to downsize. The $15K could help get them into the $200K house next door.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:55 am |
  7. andre d.eugene

    puppets on a string

    February 12, 2009 at 1:07 am |
  8. Frank Longo

    Hello, Anderson , America will never get out of this recession because the CREDIT BUREAU is the biggest problem of all. As soon as you ask a bank for a loan they ask how is your credit. In today's enviroment no American has a better credit score than 520. Banks today have more enemies than friends. Please tell me who are the borrowers. Until they fix the problem of the Credit Bureau we will never stand on our feet again. Frank

    February 11, 2009 at 11:41 pm |
  9. Ricky Patterson

    The Left's only problem is that they
    hold "live and let live" too dearly.

    February 11, 2009 at 11:36 pm |
  10. AK

    Education must not be sacrificed.

    I don't get how we (the youth and kids of today) are supposed to pay for this package in the future if simple things like funding for education seem to be the first thing to go. If you do not focus on Education you do not give the future generation the opportunity that the generation sitting in power had of a cheap affordable education to be able to move this nation forward.

    February 11, 2009 at 11:18 pm |
  11. vic

    Speaker Pelosi should be impeached for ripping off the american public.

    February 11, 2009 at 11:11 pm |
  12. Mike Satterlee

    I'm furious that they cut the tax credit for buying a home. Housing got us into this mess and housing can keep us in this mess. We have about a year's worth of inventory on the market (Seattle area) – nothing is moving and would be buyers are staying put. I don't blame them.......there is simply no reason to take the risk.

    February 11, 2009 at 11:07 pm |
  13. Jim

    Who does Pelosi work for? Us! I don't understand why she just can't accept the will of the majority of her comrades instead of ranting about her personal desire for the stimulus plan. That kind of outburst just wastes peoples time and makes the job more difficult than it should be.

    February 11, 2009 at 11:05 pm |