Pelosi Defends Democrats’ Vetting of Stimulus Plan

Posted January 22, 2009 at 11:14am

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) parried GOP assaults on Democrats’ $825 billion stimulus package Thursday and refused to slow the bill down to give more time for Republican input.

“Yes, we wrote the bill. Yes we won the election, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want sustainability or Republican support,” Pelosi said.

But the Speaker showed little room for compromising the overall direction of the package, saying: “We’re going in a new direction because the direction the Republicans have taken us has led us to this brink.”

Pelosi said the bill will be on the floor next week.

Pelosi praised Obama for reaching out to Republicans, and also said that Obama would meet with a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders at the White House on Friday to discuss the package and other issues.

Obama also will sit down separately with House Republicans next week. GOP lawmakers are pushing for the package to include more tax cuts and less spending, particularly on programs that will take years to use the money.

Pelosi noted that some Republican amendments to the bill had already been adopted in committee.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) praised Obama for reaching out to Republicans on the plan, but said House Democrats aren’t following his lead.

“It appears that House Democrats are going to continue to barrel ahead without any Republican support,” Boehner said, charging that the Democratic plan “spends too much and spends it too late” and should focus more on “fast-acting tax relief.”

“We still think there is time to influence the final product,” Boehner said.

Democrats meanwhile have noted that holding markups in several committees on the stimulus package was done at the request of Republicans. They also argue that Democrats have adjusted some committee ratios to give Republicans more influence.